Original Articles

Filling in the Dots: Why PILDAT is reviving Kalabagh debate – by Aziz Narejo

Kalabagh Dam is a very bad idea indeed. If ONLY for the reason that 3 out of 4 federating units of this blessed country have rejected it.

I am familiar enough with the Mardan-Nowshera-Charsadda area well enough to know that when without this monstrosity there is water standing along the roads just three feet below the level of the road there has to be a big problem of water-logging already.

I can only hope that sense prevails and that our already frayed federation is not damaged further.

We also must ask the question WHY an organisation whose goal is “to strengthen and sustain democracy and democratic institutions” in this poor country should re-raise a hugely contentious issue like the Kalabagh Dam? Which has been DEMOCRATICALLY rejected by three-fourths of the country.

This is not the first time that PILDAT has done this kind of thing – recall the “report” on the riches of our parliamentarians that PILDAT published just at the time when there were rumours afloat that the Establishment was about to move against the elected governments some months ago. Far more than that, there was no analysis – just a re-printing of the Election Commission’s data. In many cases the information was dated too, and had very little relevance to the present parliament.

Indeed if PILDAT was doing such a public service, why did it not publish the riches of our Air Marshals and Admirals and Generals and bureaucrats in comparison?(KS)

A case against Kalabagh Dam – by Aziz Narejo

A recent seminar in Karachi  organized by an NGO, PILDAT has  again brought the issue of  Kalabagh Dam to the fore.  Especially an irrational and  unscrupulous statement at the  seminar by IRSA chairman (from  Punjab) has flared up the  emotions among the  stakeholders.

Actually he is not  alone in this. There is a certain  lobby in Pakistan, which continues to insist on the construction of  Kalabagh Dam on Indus River  ignoring the fierce opposition from the provinces of Khyber- Pakhtoonkhwa and Sindh.

The Kalabagh Dam project is  undoubtedly one of the most  controversial water projects in the country. If taken up, this project  could prove disastrous for the  country as it will further divide the people and become a constant  source of internal strife.  I request the readers to please  consider the following points and  see how prudent it would be to  undertake the KBD or for that  matter any mega dam project:
1.  There is no extra water for any  new dams or reservoirs in the  Indus River System. During the  past few years, there has been  scarcity of water in the country  and even the present dams have  not been filled to capacity. The  lower riparian province has  suffered immensely due to the damming  of Indus River. It can’t afford any  more losses. Water expert,  Engineer A. N. G. Abbasi proves  this in his note in the report of the Technical Committee on Water  and Power.

2.  Provincial assemblies of the  three federating units have  unanimously rejected the KBD.

3.  Indus River System Authority,  IRSA, rejected the KBD on October  22 , 1996  on the basis that:
a) The Dam will be silted rather  quickly.
b) Its short life: 22 – 30  years.
c) Poor performance.
d)Comparatively lower electric  generation capability.

4. The short life of the dam and a diminished power generation  potential would result in huge  losses to the country’s exchequer. It is economically infeasible.

5. The dam will displace a large  number of people and inundate  fertile lands in the Khyber- Pakhtoonkhwa and Punjab. Many  more acreage will be lost  because of water logging in  Mardan, Swabi, Charsadda, Pabbi,  Nowshera, Dhoda, Kharmatoo and other areas. It will also cause  land degradation in the Peshawar  valley and affect the sweet water  aquifers in Karak and Lakki  Districts.

6.  Additionally, the inhabitants of  the low lying areas on both sides  of rivers Indus, Sawan, Kabul and  Tui will have to be shifted and  given new houses and lands for  settlement. These inhabitants are  in hundreds of thousands and this will incur a heavy expenditure.

7.  It will cause back-pressure in  the River Kabul, resulting in the  increase in water logging.

8.  Nowshera, a sizable city of  Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, will be threatened with termination or  severe water logging, as it will  stand 24 feet below the height of  Kalabagh storage.

9.  Several bridges and roads  including the Attock-Talagang  road on river Sawan and the Kohat-Rawalpindi road and the Peshawar-Rawalpindi road on  river Indus besides some railway  tracks and other infrastructure will be submerged by the KBD.

10. The Sui gas line between  Peshawar-Rawalpindi and  Rawalpindi-Kohat will also sink in  the dam.

11.  The Mardan and Swabi SCARP  projects will be affected.

12.  Possible backwater effects on  the Ghazi-Barotha project.

13.  The dam will need about 19.5 MAF (for storage and the  proposed irrigation canals) water.  That will further strain the  availability of water in the country especially for Sindh and  Balochistan. Some statements say that the design will be changed  and no canals will be built. But  nobody in Sindh believes it as  WAPDA and federal authorities  have a long history of broken  promises.

14.  If the dam is built there will  not be any water available for  downstream Kotri in the future. As a result the Delta and the Katcha  areas in Sindh will be destroyed  and the sea intrusion will cause  annual losses of billions of  rupees to the Sindh economy.

15.  As the Dam will sit on a fault  area, any earthquake can cause a disaster. Its proximity to Khewra  salt mines only magnifies the  problem.

16. Other adverse effects:

a) Deleterious impact on  environment, ecosystem,  biodiversity, habitat, wetlands and subsoil aquifers
b) Intensification of drought and  desertification
c) Acceleration of poverty in the  lower riparian province with  increased rural to urban migration d)Drinking water problems
e) Progressive, illegal decreases in share of Sindh in Indus River  System waters, as is already the  case.

17.  Sindh will continuously be  blackmailed, as water taps will be controlled upstream. Isn’t it in order to call for dropping the KB and other mega dams and  looking for better alternatives?  This is a public appeal to all the  people of the world to please  impress upon the government of  Pakistan to stop its genocidal  policies.

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Ali Arqam

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  • “ Kalabagh Dam: A Symbol of Victimization of Punjab By Other Provinces”.
    With the large number of deaths and destruction due to floods, continuous shortage of electricity in the country and continuous shortage of water at the time of need in rest of year has made the lives of people of Pakistan completely intoleratable. Now every one has started questioning the role of state and governments for bringing their lives in such a miserable condition, therefore it is necessary to analyze the root causes for all these miseries and painful condition from which people of Pakistan are suffering.
    Pending Kalabagh Dam:
    Pending Kalabagh and other dams are main root cause for most of the problems of people of Pakistan, but in fact its situation and location just makes it the future pumping heart of Pakistani nation, due to its importance and ability to solve the most of the problems of People of Pakistan, enemies of Pakistan are very proactive in making opposition to this dam ,and the enemies of Pakistan are making use of tactics of ethnocentrism and provincialism for opposing this dam, so that people of Pakistan can never ever be able to solve their problems.
    Civilized nations of the world build and maintain large reservoirs of currency in banks, fuel oil in tanks, gas in pressurized tanks, food and other items of needs in ware houses and cold storages, but the enemies of Pakistan are not allowing the storage of water in dams which is one of the most basic necessity of humans, plants and animals, and just want that there should be no water management and development on the only and sole life line of Pakistan which is River Indus and they just want that its water should continue to waste in the sea.
    Victimization of Punjab:
    The politicians of three smaller provinces of Pakistan are very active in victimizing and maligning the people of larger province of Punjab and are trying to force their vindicative desires and ill wishes on the largest provinces of Pakistan against their interests, These enemies are very proactive in two provinces of Pakistan, one is Sind and other is PuktunKhwa. Politicians of these two provinces always had played a negative role in the life of Pakistan. In fact the largest genocide of 3.0 million people of Pakistan committed in 1971 in East Pakistan was planned by General Yahya Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. both were belonging from these two provinces. Moreover these two provinces are the main hub of disease of ethnic and hatred base provincial politics.
    Some facts about this province are:
    Before floods politicians of Sind used to say that there is no water in the system for Kalabagh Dam, and now after floods they are saying there was flood of 3.0 Million Acre feet, therefore Kalabagh Dam having capacity of 1.0 million Acre feet was unable to stop flood, from such hypocrisy every one can sense the effects of disease of provincialism, while infect even storage of just ½ million acre feet in Kalabagh Dam was more than enough to break the peak of flood, it was the super flood which was required to control and not that of normal flood, as now Kalabagh Dam is not existing people should face such disasters without any mercy in coming years also.
    Hypocrisy and hegemony of Politicians of Sind is also obvious from following facts
    Sind producing more crops each year with more consumption of water at the same time politicians making propaganda that Punjab is stealing water.
    Sind producing rice crop in most of its arid and barren areas with no rain fall but still there is shortage of water and making propaganda that Punjab is stealing water.
    Sind increasing irrigated land near coastal area in Badin and at the same time making propaganda that there is intrusion of sea in Badin as Punjab is stealing water.
    Sind wasting one crore acre feet of water in sea but still there is shortage of water and making propaganda that Punjab is stealing water.
    Sind opposing any project on River Indus like Kalabagh Dam and any other project but still demanding more water.
    According to politicians of this province there is shortage of water for Chasma Jehlum Link Canal, For Kalabagh Dam, for Thal Canal, and as a whole For Punjab,
    but there is lot of water to waste in Arabian sea at Thatta and Badin,
    There is lot of water to grow rice in the Larkana so much that ruins of Moen Jo Daro are suffering from problem of water logging, the problem from which these ruins have not suffered during last 4500 years.
    There is lot of Indus water to waste in Manchar Lake, Kurlee Lake so much that now there is need to waste the water of these lakes in sea.
    There is lot of water to sink coastal areas of Badin and Thatta under Indus water.
    There is lot of water so much that we are pouring sweet water on saline Mangrove plants of sea.
    In present scenario according to Sind polticians it is not justified to use water for generation of electricity and preservation of water for future use and prevention of floods by building Kalabagh Dam, but it is justified to waste about one million acre feet water in the sea and that is also not from its share but from the share of other provinces so that people of Punjab could be thrown in poverty and darkness due to shortage of water and electricity.Sind will not allow other provinces of Pakistan to take one bucket of water and will not allow to grow one straw of grass, but will like to waste water in the sea as fishes of sea are very chronically thirsty.
    The credit stands with Sind that despite obtaining ample water and ample crops it’s always ready to victimize and malign Punjab, Kalabagh Dam, Thal Canal, and Chasma Jehlum canal, it’s making good use of politics of balckmailing and water.
    Preservation and storage of water in Kalabagh Dam will increase agriculture land,generation of electricity ,and will prevent wastage of sweet water and fertile sand in the sea .
    Advanced nations of the world are recycling and treating drain water for reuse while politician and Government of Sind is wasting and polluting sweet water into the sea.
    USA and India have large number of rivers and fresh water reservoirs but instead of wasting their water in sea they are using saline water of sea for agriculture and other purposes but we Pakistanies have just one river and even then we are wasting that one by the foolish politicians and Government of Sind.
    Israel and Saudi Arabia are using water of Sea by desalination for their use so much that sea is drying and drying day by day but we Pakistanis are wasting our sweet water into sea what a unique type of crime and foolish act.
    Only by taking out water from sea can stop sea intrusion and by discarding more and more sweet water into sea will aggravate the problem of so called sea intrusion.

    Government of Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned for sinking delta dwellers people of Bangladesh and Island dweller people of Maldives under sea by wasting about 10 Million Acres feet water of River Indus from the catchments area of whole of Pakistan in the sea and is not preserving and storing that water in dams like Kalabagh and Basha, on one side people of Pakistan are suffering from acute wastage of water and electricity and on other side Government is wasting sweet water in the sea which is not only causing sea rise and erosion of coastal land for whole of subcontinent, including Bangladesh and Maldives but is also harmful for saline habitat fishes and saline and sea plants like Mangroves
    On one side there is shortage of water in Pakistan on other side in Sind there is wastage of water,cultivation of crops such as rice,sugar can and banana which are highly dependent on water and at the same time demanding wastage of water in sea and objecting even on preservation of water in Kalabagh, on use of water for agriculture in Punjab, if there is shortage of water then why Sind is cultivating rice,bannana and sugarcane which are highly water dependent, if Punjab is not giving water then from where the water of Kulree ,Mancahr lakes have arrived, if Punjab is not giving water then how from Larkana to Thatta area is suffering from problem of water logging.
    Sind wants Punjab to obey its desire for wastage of water as it is mentioned in 1991 water agreement, Punjab Should stop its people living along river Indus from Kalabagh to Sadiqabad not to use water for irrigation because Provincialism is more important than Humanity.
    As Sind, Balochistan and Pukhtunkhwa are against Kalabagh Dam because as per Sind logic Thar Coal is better than Kalabagh as Kalabagh will emmit BLACK SMOKE and Thar Coal will emmit fresh air full of Oxygen.
    And as per Balouchistan Vision GAS and coal extracted from Balouchistan are one of the most clean source of energy and Kalabagh will pollute air and land resouces and people will drown in Kalabagh and no one is dying in the coal caves of Balochistan.
    And as per wisdom of Politicians of PuktunKhwa, Tarbella Dam in Pukhtoon Khuwa is so important that three rivers of Punjab were sold to India by Frontier belonging president General Ayoub for construction of Tarbella and Pakistan can be broken for royalty and revenue of Tarbella dam but Kalabagh dam is not good looking as it is in Punjab and all dams should be built well within the Pukhtonnkhwa from Basha to Attock, but as Klagabagh Dam is on the border of Punjab therefore it should not be built.
    In every super flood city of Nowshera sink under water, but it is necessary to continue to rehabilitate that city again and again because that is the hub of smuggling,crimes and drugs where as Kalabagh dam should be blown with bombs.
    All provinces want Provincial autonomy but Punjab should open or close its canals , iirigate its land and construct Dams as per desire of other provinces and after asking from other provinces Because it is necessary for unity and prosperity of Pakistan as when there will be no agriculture,no electricity and no water then Pakistan will be more united and more prosperous. From above facts it is quite clear that three provinces of Pakistan are openly involved in victimizing to alone fourth province of Punjab.

    Failure of Punjab Govertnment:
    Government of Punjab has chronically failed in protecting the rights of people of Punjab. Which is evident from the fact that it has not made any efforts for the construction of Kalabagh Dam while Govt of Sind is very proactive even in wasting the water of river Indus in Arabian sea.If Punjab govt can not protect the rights of people living alongside river Indus,it will be better to separate out those areas from Punjab,so that those people can protect their rights themselves. From NFC award it is evident that Punjab Govt has sacrificed the rights of people just for pleasing those who always hate punjab. Moreover Punjab Govt has not raised any concern about the suffering of people of Punjab in Baluchistan,Karachi and Sind. Thar coal project will have adverse effects on each and every living organism,atmosphere,enviroment in Punjab but Punjab Govt foolish leaders has not shown any concern about that project.
    Due to incompetent Punjab Government , situation has so much deteriorated that other provinces which are very vocal about Provincial autonomy are interfering in the affairs of Punjab by violating provincial autonomy of Punjab , for example Sind Province Government and Assembly has started to give suggestions to Punjab that which Canal should be kept opened or closed, which Dam (hydrel project ) should be constructed or not, and which land of Punjab should be cultivated or not, while Punjab Government is completely silent about such interference, while Sind Government is busy in wasting River Indus water in Arabian sea which is a sin and crime against humanity but Punjab government is making no objection about such wastage.
    Punjab gopvernment and its water experts are also responsible for wastage of water in Sind,
    As they never questioned or monitored that why Sweet water of Indus is being discarded in sea, which infact will be injurious and harmful for saline fishes and plants of sea.
    In Karachi it is very common observation that sea fishes do not survive in sweet water even for Minutes.
    Punjab Government never questioned from Sind Government that why they are wasting sweet water for saline plants of Mangroos which very finely grow in saline water as on coastal areas of Karachi there is no sweet water but highly dense forest of Mangroos are present there even in front of Karachi Port Trust.
    Punjab never questioned from Sind why large agricultuure area of Sind about 38 % is suffering from water logging.
    Punjab never questioned from Sind why Sind is demanding sweet water for coastal areas while there are so many varities of both wheat and other plants which even can grow in saline land.
    Politicians of other provinces want to make Punjab a crippled province but foolish government of Punjab is not able to comprehend that, a sick ,crippled Punjab wil be a liability and not an asset for Pakistan. Allowing and accepting wastage of River Indus water in sea in 1991 by Province of Sind is a fatal and non forgivable crime of Punjab Government.
    Accepting wastage of River water in sea is like accepting wastage of wheat,rice,sugar and cotton in the sea.
    Lethargic Federal Government:
    Instead of understanding the mentality of enemies of PAKISTAN, Federal government is waiting for the consensus on issue of water and dams, which is simply impossible, because these enemies will never agree on any point which will be for the welfare of people of Pakistan.Federal government is 100 % responsible for the deaths and destruction due to this flood, as that is not making decisions in the national interest and as per desires of people of Pakistan but inafct making decisions as per blackmailing of ethnic parties such as ANP,MQM and Jijye Sind who are traders of hatred and are enemies of innocent people from day first and are involved in target killing of noble and innocent people of Pakistan
    It is the responsibility of Federal Government to direct Sind not to commit crime by polluting river Indus water by wasting it in saline sea water.
    It is the responsibility of Federal Government to direct Sind not to waste water in province which is causing water logging in Sind and causing damage to land.
    It is the responsibility of Federal Government to direct Punjab and Sind government for construction of Dams like Kalabagh to preserve water and generation of electricity.
    It is the responsibility of Federal Government to make laws against polluting of River water as Sind is polluting River Indus water,the life of 180 million peoples of Pakistan
    It is the responsibility of Federal Government to make laws against wastage of River Indus water as Sind is wasting River Indus water in Arabian sea.
    It is the responsibility of Federal Government to make laws against polluting of water, land and air as Sind is planning to do by polluting these by smoke of Thar coal.
    Sind Government should make arrangement for more and more extraction of water from sea and desalination of sea water and use of sweet water in saline land should be completely restricted, its very strange that Karachi city government is trying to install plants of desalination for obtaining sweet water from sea for city while Sind Government is wasting sweet water of Indus about one crore Acre feet water in the sea what a foolish act and what a crime against humanity.
    Those who adovcate wastage of River Indus in sea and oppose PRESERVATION AND STORAGE OF water at Kalabagh are infact the enemies of Pakistan.
    Logic that river water will stop the intrusion of sea is the most foolish Idea, on one side there is ONE MIGHTY SEA AND on other side there is a just one river coming from arid zone,The river will infact rise the level of sea ultimately leading to sea to spread on land and will further cause water logging and salinity of land.
    The main forest of Mangroves of Sind coastal areas are located in Karachi but Sind is not providing even drinking water to citizens of Karachi.
    If there is problem of salinity and sea intrusion on coastal areas of Sind, there is need to eastablish salt Industry in that area instead of agriculture while by wastage of river water in sea we are wasting sweet water and also wasting salt of the land which is an important mineral and pouring river water in sea there will be just further rise in sea water and more intrusion of sea water in all coastal areas.
    The simple logic is that those who do not want dams like Kalabagh to be built, they are enemies of the country or at least don’t want Pakistan to have vibrant economy and social peace. The forces and lobbies that opposed Pakistan and those that are stuck up in their narrow grooves of provincialism would not like Pakistan to become an economically viable country. The weak economy foments societal discontent and political instability. That is the spectacle that patriotic Pakistanis have been witnessing since the inception of Pakistan.
    Disease of Provincialism in Politicians of Khyber PukhtoonKhwa and Sind is mainly responsible for destruction by floods, power and water shortage mayhem and the resultant chaos in the society due to tormenting blackouts and long power outrages and deaths due to floods. Balouchistan, Sindh and PukhtoonKhwa do not have any right to victimize or dictate or make decisions about projects of one province Punjab on the basis of disease of provincialism and hatred. Punjab which have more than half population of Pakistan, its know very well that what is good and bad for them and there is no need of any interference, instructions and dictations from other provinces in the affairs of use of land and water resources of Punjab.
    It is the responsibility of international community (USA,EU,UK,India,China and other neighbor countries) to persuade government of Pakistan to take care of its people and make dams and flood control projects for countering shortage of water and electricity otherwise foolish rulers of Pakistan will always remain sitting by keeping their hands over hands in their foolish paradise waiting for centuries for consensus building for Dams in the presence of pus and poision of provincialism and like beggars themselves will do nothing and suffering of people of Pakistan will continue forever along with floods, poverty, illiteracy, darkness, Corruption, provincialism, ethnocentriosm, terrorism and extremism.
    Written by: M.AKRAM KHAN NIAZI.