Pakistan top judge’s remarks on Kalabagh Dam opens Pandora’s Box

PPP reiterates opposition to KBD, Sindh minister demands treason proceedings against those in favour of ‘controversial’ dam

Islamabad: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar’s recent statement hinting at resuming Kalabagh Dam (KBD) project and initiating cases of treason against its opponents has opened a Pandora’s Box in the country and political leaders from opposition parties, particularly PPP and nationalist parties have reiterated they would oppose it.

The CJP on Saturday while hearing a suo motu case against various water companies which are extracting groundwater, had hinted at examining the scope of treason case against opponents of dams in Pakistan.

Later in Lahore, Nisar said the Supreme Court would not give up on building Kalabagh dam. “Relentless efforts would be made to build this dam. It is essential for Pakistan’s survival and security,” said Saqib Nisar. He insisted that he would not allow moves of the enemies to succeed.

“This nation will protect these dams by forging unity. This nation will keep an eye on dams and thwart every move against this initiative,” he said.

Supreme Court Chief Justice’s latest statement is subject of debate across the country on national and international media and where voices are being raised in his support, politicians from Sindh have taken strong position against it.

Voicing strong opposition to any proposed construction of Kalabagh Dam, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and Sindh Minister for Works and Services Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said anyone speaking about Kalabagh Dam should be dealt under Article-6 of the Constitution. However, he made it clear PPP was against Kalabagh Dam only.

His remarks have come in an indirect reference to the Chief Justice’s warning of Article-6 of the Constitution against those opposing it.

Former Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah earlier in Jusly this year had also requested Chief Justice to focus on judicial reforms, instead of getting involved in the controversial issue of Kalabagh dam.

“Hundreds of thousands of cases are pending in courts which require reforms in judiciary,” Shah had said.

Reiterating his opposition to the dam, the Pakistan People’s Party leader said the people of Sindh would not accept any decision imposed on them regarding Kalabagh dam. Sindh has resisted the Kalabagh project for around three decades and three provincial assemblies of Sindh, Balochistan and KPK have rejected the dam, he categorically announced.

A rights activist from Sindh, Kapil Dev while taking exception to CJP’s remarks reminded the Hon’ble judge that there was a consensus among the political leaders of Pakistan including Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif and others that it would be constructed only with consent of all parties.

“Even Prime Minister Imran Khan in his Larkana public address back in November 2014 had promised to the people of Sindh that his party would not allow the construction of Kalabagh Dam without the consent of the people of Sindh,” said Kapil.

He said the CJP’s recent statement aimed at dividing the people and provinces instead of uniting them and in the larger interests of the country he should better distance himself from this controversial project.


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