A curious case of Kalabagh Dam with Moonis Elahi’s perspective

A curious case of Kalabagh Dam with Moonis Elahi's perspective

By Raza Ruman

Pakistan is heading towards water scarcity — is anyone at the helm of affairs paying attention? asks Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PMLQ) Parliamentarian Moonis Elahi.

“Global warming has melted 267 billion tons of ice in the world and sea level has risen 21 feet higher. Pakistan’s 7,253 glaciers are also suffering from an environmental catastrophe that could make water scarcity a bitter reality in the future,”MNA Moonis Elahi raises concerns in a talk on the issue on a social media platform.

The politician from Gujrat is of the view that large water reservoirs are essential for the survival and greenery of Pakistan. “All this is possible only if Kalabagh Dam (KBD) is built and maximum water is saved. With the construction of Kalabagh Dam, cheaper and more environment friendly electricity can be generated,” Mr Moonis says adding the country is in dire need of new water reservoirs and these should have been constructed without any further delay.
Mr Moonis, whose party is an ally to ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, has vowed to take this matter to Parliament and stress for addressing it without any further delay.

KalaBagh Dam banao Pakistan Bachao (construct KBD and save Pakistan)

Mr Moonis has also recently launched a drive — KalaBagh Dam banao Pakistan Bachao (construct KBD and save Pakistan). Although this initiative has received tremendous feedback on social media but since the regional and national political parties like PPP has made KBD project controversial even the so-called daring government of Imran Khan is reluctant to kick off this much needed project.

Water scarcity is likely to hit Pakistan by 2025 urgent measures are required to deal with it.

For over three decades, Mr Moonis says plans to construct the Kalabagh Dam on the Indus River in western Punjab have hit a snag. “The opponents’ argument that the KBD will affect downstream water access and livelihoods does not hold much ground.

Since 1980s, the KBD has been given an ethnic and provincial colour,” Mr Moonis said, lamenting that it is worsening Pakistan’s water predicament.

General Ziaul Haq had first politicised the construction of Kalabagh Dam. According to a report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “Pakistan is the third most water deficient country in the world”.

Since the completion of Tarbela dam in 1974, no mega dam has been constructed in Pakistan, whereas the population of the country has tripled by now.

mooni elahi kalabagh dam campaign

The feasibility of the KBD is not the issue anymore. Because the paper work and other important details about water storage and power generation project over river Indus at Kalabagh had been prepared a long time ago. Unfortunately, the conflict dynamics of KBD rest on lack of consensus among provinces,” Mr Moonis says, adding provincial assemblies of three out of the four provinces have passed resolutions against the construction of the Kalabagh dam for a variety of reasons. “I think the assemblies should hold a fresh debate on the KBD and evolve a consensus in this respect,” the PMLQ Parliamentarian suggests.

Earlier, KPK assembly had rejected Kalabagh dam because it feared that Nowshera would be submerged under water if the dam was constructed. Similarly the Sindh opposed the construction of Kalabagh dam, saying Sindh as the “lower riparian province will be dry because of the non-availability of water”.

Only Punjab had supported the construction of Kalabagh dam.

The PPP says the provincial assemblies of three provinces had rejected Kalabagh dam and “whoever will support this rejected dam will face strong resistance”.

Moonis Elahi concludes that “it’s time to shun political differences on the water scarcity issue before it’s too late.” PAK DESTINY

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