Nothing has revealed the government’s reluctance to build the Kalabagh Dam for reasons of political posturing at the tremendous cost the entire nation is paying, than the Council of Common Interest’s informing the Lahore High Court that it has no objection to its construction, and that it has already sent its recommendations to the federal government. This was the response of the CCI to the writ petition before the Lahore High Court, which has been moved by a private citizen, based on remarks by former Wapda Chairman Shamsul Mulk, who favours the building of the dam, even though he not only belongs to Khayber-Pakhtunkhwa, but to the actual area which could allegedly be flooded if it is built.
The KP government consists of the strongest opponents of the Kalabagh Dam, the ANP and the PPP, and in the centre, they have used their position to stop the dam’s construction. Both should consider whether their performance in office has been such that they can afford to go to the polls, which they must by early next year, as parties which have not addressed the people’s problems, and which have prevented them from getting 3600MW of hydel power, as well as irrigation water for such vast tracts of land. This dilemma has become particularly acute, now that it has been highlighted in the course of the Lahore High Court hearing. The people of Pakistan, starved of water for their lands and electricity for their homes, need the federal government to put aside its blinkered attitude, and in earnest start work on a project not just of national benefit, but one which has been studied exhaustively.