THIS is apropos of the letter (Nov 16) opposing the construction of the Bhasha Dam. It is a recognised fact that the Indus Water Treaty, during Gen Ayub’s regime, was a trap to recognise India’s hegemony over the disputed territory’s river waters, over which Pakistan had a legal right, even otherwise, as a historical lower riparian.
In this way India has been gradually siphoning away Pakistan’s share of water by illegally building dams in the disputed territory, thus consolidating its right to illegally annex Kashmir, besides harming Pakistan’s agricul ture and prosperity.
Mushtaque Rajpar has rightly claimed that Pakistan can ill afford to spend $ 12.6bn on the Bhasha Dam, when it is already under huge foreign debt, which is not easy to pay back, as its yearly expenses are more than earnings by $10bn. This is besides the fact that the dams lose their capacity within decades, due to heavy silting, which could be much more in the areas prone to heavy landslides and dangers of earthquakes, like the Bhasha Dam.
In view of these facts, apart from a legal review of the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan has to seriously think of other more economical and perennial sources for water and power generation like air turbines and harnessing tidal sea flows along long coastal areas, besides restoring its huge silted – up water storage capacity, almost equal to that of a dam, in river beds, above old solid wall weirs like Khanki, Punjnad and Balloki etc., which can be easily restored by providing control gates like barrages utilising local resounces.
Apart from these, there are many sites in Balochistan and Cholistan for creating subsoil water storages, along the path of huge flash floods, through sub soil clay dams. These can be easily attempted through local resources and research and development by our own engineers, thus creating a green revolution, instead of mortgaging our economy, through more foreign debts. (S. M. H. RIZVI Karachi )
REFERRING to the news item, ‘Diamer-Bhasha Dam project gets go-ahead’, I would like to draw the attention of the chief justice of Pakistan, all human rights organisations and others to some other facts, be yond the issues of ‘row over royalty’, ‘compensation’ and ‘rehabilitation of the displaced people’.
The Northern Areas is a territory that does not enjoy its constitutional and democratic rights, as well as its right to participate in the national mainstream activities because of its ‘political’ position.
How come the government is spending billions of dollars and planning to construct a dam in this region? Why has the state not spent as much money on socio-economic uplift of the region’s populace since 1947 as it is planning to spend on a single project?
Construction of this water reservoir and others, like Sadpara Dam in Baltistan and Bonji Dam, has no legality, it is a violation of the basic rights of the two million people of the area.
The chief justice of Pakistan should take suo motu notice of the decision and seek explanations from the government in this regard.
I hope that this case of the hundreds of thousands of people of Gilgit-Baltistan will get equal attention in the court of justice. (NOOR MUHAMMAD)
Published in the Opinion section of Dawn.