Construction of Kalabagh Dam

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Publication No: PD-218

Rs 1,500  

The Background paper on Construction of Kalabagh Dam has been commissioned by PILDAT to assist and support an informed dialogue on the conflict of Kalabagh Dam. The peer reviewed background paper is authored by Mr. Muhammad Feyyaz who holds a Masters degree in War studies from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad and M. Phil in Peace & Conflict Studies from the Faculty of Contemporary Studies, National Defence University, Islamabad. The paper has been prepared to serve as a background for a conflict resolution simulation exercise for the benefit of Members of Pakistan’s Parliament. The construction of dams in Pakistan was initiated in 1955, when the country was facing an acute power shortage. When India stopped water supplies to the network of canals in Pakistan, it became imperative to build large storages and link canals to restore water to the affected canal system. This resulted in the construction of two gigantic dams, Mangla with a gross storage capacity of 5.88 MAF and Tarbela with 11.62 MAF, as a part of the Indus Basin Replacement Works. At present, the country not only needs a particular dam but a series of them because its agriculture, the economic base of the country, is in bad shape. The Kalabagh Dam project has always remained an apple of discord in the hydro-political history of Pakistan. There are varying perspectives for or against construction of the dam. One school of thought predicates its argument on the need for food sovereignty for the galloping population of Pakistan, and the other for environmental security on which the lives and livelihood of millions depend. The controversy of Kalabagh Dam (KBD) has raged between the four provinces of Pakistan since 1984 when its project report left the drawing boards of WAPDA and was circulated among the provinces. Punjab has been the only province in favour of the dam. The other three provinces have expressed dissatisfaction: their provincial assemblies passed unanimous resolutions rejecting the proposed dam. Hence, the project is still under consideration only. The present Government, upon assuming power in 2008, announced it will not pursue the construction of Kalabagh dam project as resolutions had been passed against its construction by the Sindh and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KPK) Provincial Assemblies.

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