ISLAMABAD – The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday said that Kalabagh Dam construction is imperative for the survival of Pakistan.
A three-member bench of the apex court, chaired by Justice Nisar was hearing the petition filed by Barrister Zafarullah Khan, who had requested a referendum for the construction of Kalabagh Dam.
During the hearing of the case, the CJP remarked that Kalabagh Dam issue is not that simple, therefore; it should be renamed as ‘Pakistan Dam’.
CJP asserted that if Pakistan does not construct Kalabagh dam, the situation of water crisis will become worse after five years.
“The Supreme Court will form its own team over the issue,” the CJP asserted.
Former chairman of WAPDA Shamsul Mulk told the court that he considers that only CJP Nisar can do justice in the matter.
He argued that a total of 46,000 dams have been built across the world. “China has constructed 22,000 dams each producing nearly 30,000MW electricity while India has 4500 dams,” he said.
“Mr Mulk! We have to resolve the issue of water crisis on the emergency basis. If Kalabagh Dam is not constructed, KPK will be totally deprived of water,” remarked the CJP.
The CJP stressed that all the four provinces have to render sacrifices for the construction of dams.
The petitioner remarked that all of the four provinces had agreed on the construction of Kalabagh dam, to which the chief justice responded that the issue was not so simple.
Mulk observed that some people had said that getting dams constructed was not the job of the chief justice. However, he reiterated that no one except the top judge.
The engineer informed the court that water stored in the Tarbela dam is distributed to the provinces through a devised formula, with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) receiving four per cent of the water. Sindh, Balochistan, and Punjab receive 70 per cent, six per cent, and 20 per cent of Tarebela’s water respectively.
Mulk further stated that he had given a briefing on the dam to the KP government and the Awami National Party (ANP), whose influence lies in the Pashtun-dominated areas in and around the province. “A senior member of ANP told me that he would convince party president Asfandyar Wali Khan for the construction of the dam.”
The chief justice asked if Pakistan’s survival without water was possible. “What will be Pakistan’s water situation after five years if dams are not constructed,” he said.
To Justice Nisar’s inquiry, Mulk responded that 86 per cent of the water in rivers comes in the form of floods.