Pakistan has construction various dams to produce electricity and store irrigation water after the independence, but still there is a serious need to build more dams as the country has been facing severe energy crisis for the last many years. The governments in the past made various studies and suggested locations to construct dams, but costly hostilities with India and internal political turmoil have always hindered the political governments in Islamabad to embark on any ambitious and progressive plan. On another note, the military governments remained busy in serving the interests of foreign nations during their tenures in the office.
The government has planned Diamer-Bhasha Dam in Gilgit-Baltistan on the River Indus, about 314 kilometres upstream the Tarbela Dam. The dam will be spread over an area of 7.3 million acre with power generation capacity of 4,500 megawatt. However, despite numerous studies the construction has yet to be started, making Pakistan the graveyard of dams and memorandum of understandings. Another dam, Gomal Zam Dam, was planned to be constructed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to produce 17.4 megawatt electricity, but the Rs 4.388 billion project is also yet to take off.
The Kalabagh Damis to be built at Kalabagh, bordering Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is the much controversial dam as India is prodigally funding billions of dollars among some Pakistani politicians and technocrats to stop the construction of this dam. In December 2005, General Pervez Musharraf had vowed to build the dam, but the project has failed to take off.
The project was initiated by the government in 1953, andwas considered a water storage project until 1973.However, chronic energy crisis greatly enhanced the importance of this proposed dam.The political expediencies have created bitter controversies among the four provinces of the country on the construction of this dam.
As a matter of fact, billions of cusec water has been wasted away in the Arabian Sea untilised for decades, but the so-called political stakeholders are applying every tactic to dump Kalabagh Dam once forever and they are almost successful in their design. According to experts, the lost water could have been used to irrigate millions of acres land. Construction of new dams is indispensable to meet energy and irrigation needs. It is time that the politicians across the spectrum join hands for the cause and wellbeing of the nation. A layman doesn’t understand political intricacies and wants an improved living standard and this should be the goal of our political leadership.