Consensus on Kalabagh Dam

It is a bitter fact that Pakistan is facing water scarcity problem intensity of which is increasing with very passing day. Our enemy India is adding to problems of Pakistan by continuing to resort to water aggression, building dams on our rivers in flagrant violation of the Indus Water Treaty which New Delhi is interpreting to suit its nefarious designs. It is also a bitter fact that Pakistan has not developed major storage facility in more than last four decades after Tarbela dam was completed in 1974 and much researched, investigated, planned, criticized, multi-purpose Kalabagh dam cannot be even mentioned in official documents what to talk about its construction because Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are opposed to it more on petty political grounds than any technical or other ground.
In this very unfortunate background, it is indeed heartening to note that a newly-inducted federal minister from Multan has started raising voice for Kalabagh dam both in the National Assembly, in his home town and elsewhere. According to the reports in the newspapers, Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Javed Ali Shah has vowed to make all out efforts for evolving ever-elusive national consensus among the provinces regarding construction of Kalabagh dam and reservations of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in this regard will be addressed as water scarcity is going to become a big challenge in the coming years all over the world.
Although the federal and provincial governments are launching and executing a number of power generation projects based on mixed energy sources but in all fairness, electricity load- shedding crisis and depleting water resources for irrigation purposes throughout the country can only be overcome and resolved more or less on permanent basis only with the construction of Kalabagh dam which in short will be constructed in minimum period of six years , generate 2400 to 3600 megawatt of power and more importantly store 7 million acres of feet (MAF) of water for meeting irrigation requirements of Punjab, Sindh, KP and Balochistan provinces quite adequately.
The much elusive national consensus on Kalabagh dam can undoubtedly be developed quite smoothly provided the political leadership of the federating units sit across the table and discuss the burning issue with open minds and hearts. Political leaders realize fully the benefits which will accrue to the country and the nation with the construction of Kalabagh dam but somehow they cannot support it, as they are heard saying, because they have previously opposed it publicly. Bouquets, all prays and good wishes for the Federal Water Resources Minister for much awaited success in developing national consensus on KB Dam. Undeterred and determined efforts are required to be made to make the political leaders realize that national interests are supreme and cannot be allowed for long to be subservient to their petty vested, political and regional interests.
Mohammad Zahid
Lahore

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