DevelopmentGilgit - BaltistanPakistanPolitics

Opposition to Diamir Bhasha Dam

KANA minister Qamar Zaman Kaira has said that “Not a single voice was raised from the people of Northern Areas against this proejct (Diamir-Bhasha Dam).

Source DAWN

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On Sunday 5, 2006 a prominent and prolific social scientist, Aziz Ali Dad, had written an article for The NEWS. Following are excerpts from that article. The full article can also be downloaded for reference and information.

……The announcement of Bhasha Dam, without the consent of local people, clearly illustrates the plight of the people who have been kept in a constitutional limbo. Bereft of representation the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are vulnerable to the whims of other ethnic communities and the ruling elite of Pakistan. Ironically, Kashmiris on both sides of the divide enjoy representation in assemblies, whereas Gilgit-Baltistan has been kept in a constitutional limbo — because of the Kashmir dispute…..

….. It is unfortunate that eight rivers of the region make 72 per cent of the Indus River, yet it does not have representation in IRSA (Indus River System Authority). Although district Diamer stands to lose 95 per cent of its land to Bhasha Dam, some hidden hands have maneuvered the design to ensure that the power turbines fall on the left of the River Indus so that the neighbouring province could reap the royalty at the cost of the people of Diamer…..

Read Diamerically Oppossed[Complete Article]

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  1. Btw an agreement was made by the government with local of diamer and pledges(Us usuall, with no legal evidences i suppose) were made by hte government. No research is made on the prospective geological and social changes and no one has talked on that. And only pledges for giving royalties, with no provisions in Constitutions, by government will again be merely slogans to start the work. And once it has started government will force to complete the project by power, as people will be displaced.
    It obviously shows shortsightedness or simplisity of our representatives. There should be a debate on this topic. anyways lets pray and see what happens with us.

  2. Hundreds of thousands people from Gilgit-Baltistan will be displaced. Hundreds of Archeological sites and ancient rock inscriptions will be drown in the dam water. There will be a climate disaster in the whole region. Ecology of Indus will be disturbed as the water reservoir of proposed Diamer Basha lies in Gilgit-Baltistan side . In returned Royalty will be given to NWFP, Jobs will be given to NWFP as the proposed Turbines will be installed in Kohistan(NWFP). When KANA (in urdu ) minister says there was not a single voice against the dam. I am afraid he is right because we are a dead Nation and Dead Nations do not make noices/voices.

  3. I believe all the politicians in Pakistan are supposed to be Behra and Kana, and the very best of them in these two categories get to the apex of their political career to become head of the state…. as we already have One………. So our own KANA minister Qamar Zaman Kana has got the potential to get the top slot if he proves himself better than Zordari, who seemz to be the best in business these days…………………

    @ Saud….. I like the notion KANA (in urdu) …… point to ponder for us as a nation, what really we are upto……………???.. We don’t have any say in politics of Pakistan… I heard Kana Sb saying on television last night that all the stake holder have been consulted from Northern Areas…. Kana Sb open your eyes, which stakeholders are you talking about….

    Where are our local leaders………..leaders of the suspended local council…..Can all leaders of LC call a peaceful demonstration the way MQM does in Karachi..

  4. Remember KAIRA heads the propaganda Ministry of the federal government also, apart from being the Minister KANA and our viceroy.
    Besides, like President Zardari, who is also Co-chair of PPP, KAIRA seems to be the defacto President/chair of PPP NAs, by virtue of his position as Minister KANA??

    Wo Jungle ka badsha hai, unda dai ya bacha!!

    As far as the construction of the Dam is concerned, probably NO great voice was heard against it, and may be KAIRA is right in saying ‘NO single voice raised AGAINST construction of the Dam.

    BUT, some objections were raised by NALA and Diamer people and environmentalists and archeologists, like:

    1. Before construction the royalty issue should be resolved;
    2. Before construction, the border dispute between NWFP and Diamer be resolved;
    3. Before construction starts, the Land compansation according to market rates, and resttlement plan should be in place, as the people wish;
    4. WAPDA should conduct proper EIA.

    In order to resolve these issues, the government is following the same policies as was pursued by President Musharaf; deal the people and their local leaders tactfully and through use of administrative machinery at AC, DC DSP, SSP levels, divide-and-rule, political appeasement and ‘insulate the issue as ‘ strategic and politically sensitive’ and scare the media, rights activists and environmentalists through various other pressures, so that they are unable to project it.

    Under KAIRA, it seems the NA PPP has become voiceless for the first time in its history???

    Can they raise voice and make a representation of the people of NAs to Zardari and the PM???

    Or May be KAIRA is used to hearing only big bangs and sounds of bomb blasts, and rocket launchers in NWFP and Balouchistan, so it is difficult for him to hear the decent voices of delegations of Chilasis, Gilgitis and Baltis???

    Yes, there was no single voice raised like they raise in NWFP and Balouchistan. the Minister is right.

  5. Dear Readers,
    I am pretty surprized knowing about all this. It is merely an attempt to disregard and ignore the really deserving ones.
    The climatical changes taking place would again be a disaster and there are various other critical parameters which will be perturbed and finally will result in a situation that would be traumatic in its effects in the long run.

    We must have to move forward keeping the retrospects and prospects of our initiatives in earnest consideration.

    We need to instigate the deactivated minds to resume our originality being a patriotic and visionary nation.

    We have to raise our voices and are not voiceless.We must strive for our rights and held others responsible if something goes wrong and disturbes our routine life activities.

    Aslam Ghalib


  6. I think its the people of diamer who should be guaged as happy of unhappy with this project.They are happy.Because something is better than nothing for them,what grows in chilas if there is no dam.I think our people are mature enough to develop the area for development but so calld intellectuals are making hurdles.Its democracy peoples opinion should be respected.Their economic conditions will be improed.All the people of N.Areas will take benifit.If there is no dam no jobs and development in Diamer.Lets develop Diamer and its people who have also right to education benifit and economic development.The non-Diamer people should not make this beutiful project spoil.
    Because they agreed in the last meeting with home secretary on the issues.So lets develop N.As,

  7. صدا طوطی کی سنتا کون ہے نقار خانے میں

    ڈوگروں کی غلامی سے تو آذاد ہوۓ مگر پنجابیوں، ڈاکوں، وطن فروشوں، دہشت گردوں، ضمیر فروشوں اور معضوم انسانوں کی لاشوں پہ سیاست کی دکان چمکانے والوں کی غلامی میں ہم جکڑے ہوۓ ہیں۔

  8. Hi readers!

    Find hereunder a piece of expressions that was developed in January 2006 soon after reading the news for construction of the “Basha Dam” and going through different related and genuine reports. I had sent this “melancholic as well as roaring piece of expressions” to more than 200 literate/educated individuals of the Northern Areas on January 31, 2006 on their email addresses, and even hard copies were also given to many, including Syed Jafar Shah, a political leader and a prominent advocate/lawyer, others.

    Reading it will be helpful for the readers to know also the WAPDA’s onwn technical report which is scared of the negative effects of this mega dam.


    Fazal Amin Beg


    Please forward it to as many natives of the Northern Areas as you can.

    The rationales are being presented hereunder with regard to the construction of the mega dam in the Northern Areas of Pakistan with the names of Diamar (Basha) and Skurdu dams.

    Being native, literate/educated and conscious—by taking into accounts of the serious interests and rights of the Northern Areas, which have been brutally suppressed for 57 years—you all are humbly requested to kindly come out of the ethnocentrism, linguistic affinities and religious and sub-regional attachments and contribute your views (suggestions and recommendations) after going through the facts and effects of the dams. On the other, please try to asses these facts and effects in light of the autocratic decision made by General Pervez Musharaf even reportedly getting aside the Cabinet Committee on the Dams, let alone any prior dialogue or consensus building with the respective communities and the so-called Northern Areas.

    In such a critical situation, your views are imperative based on the facts, significances, rights and interests of the Northern Areas (see under) that can positively contribute in making broader and rational opinions and deciding constructively for the fate and destiny of the mountain communities of the Northern Areas by the natives and never by externals.


    The glaciers, streams and rivers form not only the great Indus River but rather are the lifeline for the communities of the provinces of Pakistan that have their full dependence on this water for their drinking, irrigation and electric power.

    There is no doubt that the Northern Areas is a roundabout for the four countries: China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and contributes in Rs. billions annually in economy of Pakistan whether in line with tourism, trades and commerce or others on the Chinese route, but unfortunately the genuine rights of the communities of the region have been suppressed not only in terms of marginalization but rather also treated like the Negro and the Sudra.


    Diamar Dam is almost entirely located in the Diamer district of the Northern Areas, a disputed territory in Pakistan. While Basha is a very small village in the jurisdiction of the North West Province of Pakistan (NWFP). Thus, politically this name Basha was promoted and propagated in the media by the concerned authority and demoralised and distorted the fact that this dam was entirely in the above cited district of the Northern Areas. The example is just like a house and a wash-basin out of the house, and the political and technical authorities now refer and give the identity to the house through the wash-basin and not through the house to the wash-basin. The catchment area of the dam is 152,100 sq. km ranging from Sazin-Dassu to Raikot Bridge) while the reservoir area is 27,700 acres.

    Prospective Environmental Problems/Issues

    The following quotations are from the reports of the WAPDA on this dam:

    “Large hydroelectric projects have a number of environmental impacts. These cause major problems that have to be encountered at the time of project conception. Basha dam was no different in this regard. In fact, given its location at a high elevation and the tough terrain, the nature of impacts becomes even more grave:

    a) Technically, “Basha dam, according to the WAPDA report, “will be located in a seismically sensitive area. There are certain researches that indicate that that the impoundment of water in the vicinity of faulted area poses a potential impact towards increasing the earth tremors.

    b) Project construction is bound to affect the natural environment – both flora and fauna – which is quite dense. Here the construction activities of the dam development of roads, quarrying, etc. have to be taken into account. 120 km of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) is also expected to be submerged. In order to carry heavy equipment to the dam site through KKH would require improvement in its present condition.

    c) Soil erosion may deteriorate a vast area of land and also induce instability in downstream irrigation channels due to fluctuations based on the reservoir level.

    d) Altered stream flow and nutrient content including sediments will cause changes in the habitat.

    e) Other downstream effects are likely to impact water supply, fisheries, navigation, aesthetics and recreation.

    f) Dams maintain thermally stratified reservoirs which tend to alter thermal regimes, reduce dissolved oxygen content, reduce turbidity and elevate the level of manganese, iron, ammonia-nitrogen and hydrogen sulphide. There is also tendency for loss of phytoplanktons, which are the staple diet of a number of fishes and other aquatic life”. (WAPDA report on Basha Dam available the internet).

    Anthropological issues and Questions

    1.The concerned community of these areas will become homeless; and serious problems of resettlement/rehabilitation and adjustment will increase and the old age kinship bonds and affinities of the respective communities living here for centuries rather for millennia will brutally break up.

    2. The old-age cultural heritages (material cultures/archaeological sites such as historical buildings, rock carvings of thousand of years by different empires) of these communities in particular and entire humanity in general will sink/submerge and come to an end.

    3. Environmental issues will raise up and intensify as described above in detail.

    4. There is no royalty to the Northern Areas rather it’ll be given to the NWFP because constitutionally the royalty is given to the area, wherein the power-houses are constructed and never to the area, where the dam is constructed. That is why, though the entire dam area is in the Northern Areas, but the power-houses will be in Basha (a pocket of the dam and associated behind this small village of NWFP).

    5. Politically, the deprived communities of the Northern Areas will further become frustrated in the near future. The decision taken by the federal and provinces of Pakistan on behalf of these peoples are the crystal clear evidences.


    The only opportunity that can be prospected for the Northern Areas is the provision of electricity, and may be some employment, otherwise the example of Sui Gas is before us, as Sui [in Baluchistan] provided gas to other Pakistani provinces but remained without gas.

    In contrast, the actual opportunities coming up are for the peoples of the down countries. They will benefit from this dam in terms of the electric-power supply; irrigation water sufficiency through irrigation canals; and Barrier for the floods.

    Points to ponder over seriously

    a) Why the name was cunningly propagated and promoted as Basha Dam rather than Diamer Dam?

    b) Why this dam is being constructed on the seismically sensitive zone?

    c) Why this dam is being started without any feasibility study despite the fact that president Musharaf time and again said that Basha dam will be started after its feasibility study and Kalabagh dam?

    d) Why our political representatives are not taken into confidence with regard to this dam?

    e) Why opposition members/leaders of the four provinces including NWFP advocate for the construction of Basha dam and oppose the Kalabash dam?

    f) When questions regarding the political rights of the Northern Areas are raised then the status of this region becomes disputed, but how come this dam, along with Skardu dam, now becomes legitimate and undisputed?

    Kindly, spare little time in precisely answering the following questions for the benefits and interests of your Northern Areas, and oblige.

    After going through the facts about, negative effects on and opportunities for the Northern Areas, do you agree with the autocratic decision of General Pervez Musharaf in constructing the Diamer (Basha) dam? If yes, why? if no why?

    Do you wish your communities should suffer in the hands of external and forced-decisions without building any consensus with the effected communities?

    Do you recommend these communities of more or less 42 villages be displaced and subjected to severe cultural and adjustment problems?

    Do you want your entire region to suffer further environmentally due to such mega projects?

    Do you recommend that the cultural heritages including old-aged buildings, the archaeological sites, e.g., rock curving and others should take their last breath and sink in the dam?

    Do you wish the royalty be given to the NWFP instead of the Northern Areas, which is its fundamental and just right?

    Do you wish for the tight grip of the bureaucracy under the Federal Government or recommend liberation of your political leaders/representatives to promote genuine democracy in the Northern Areas whereby to involve the communities through these political leaders for such decisions for their fates?

    Thanks for your kind patience and sparing time for your ever marginalized and suppressed communities of the Northern Areas.

    Fazal Amin Beg

  9. The communities of the high mountains are at risk, especially vis-a-vis such mega level dams. The international experts also oppose the mega dams because of these dams’ negative environmental effects.

    In August 2006, when I visited Xinjiang (China), and more particularly the Baldir Valey, I was astonished to see that a mega level dam is being constructed there, too. The goverment of Afghanistan and Tajikistan are also of the opinion that a mega dam would be constructed on the Panj River (which goes ahead and becomes Amu Daryo or Oxus River). The goverment of Pakistan is so kin and has decided to construct this mega dam in its colony, the disputed territory.

    Ultimately, all mountain communities of the Kun Lun, Pamirs, Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Himalya would become sandwich among these mega dams. The susceptible communities, living in these high mountains, are already dependent on a seasonal crops. When the climatic shift would come up, further vulnerability will increase.The crops may not ripe so easily; and what we and our generations would eat, even if we could not eat the grass?
    OUr present, because of Basha-Diamar Damer Dam, would suffer from different angles initially from the displacement. OUr Past would suffer when the centuries old historical and archeological sites would submerge in the dam on Indus River. Our future [generation] would suffer when time and again the earth=quake tremors would intensify and would be bereft of the socioeconomic and other prospects.

    I really disagree with Ghulam Sarwar who naively terms the dams as “the issue of the people of Diamr.” Never! Would the earth quake tremors only be in Diamor and no in other parts of the region? Would the climatic shift only in Diamar and not in the entire region? Does the cloud or rain remains constant in one region only? Be serious man and open your mind.

    We need to open our eyes that Basha Dam would emerge as an environmental, political, economic, and human rights issue. Why all these stakeholders are silent? Where are the so-called NALA (nala u faryad) reps, environmental agen agents, enterprise groups, civil society organizations and human rights activists? For God’s sake! Rise now! Raise your voices. Hundreds of CSOs are here in the NAs? Where are they?

  10. dear writers
    first of all its diamer-basha dam,you said it zidati hai.
    and climatic impacts will be positive,we will have rain and increase cultivation.please open your mind and see positve aspects too.
    kindly avoid goes ahead why u drag us behind

  11. I request writers on this blog to write letters to editor to lodge their protest against the cunning tactics of Kaira to sideline the issue of royalty and opposition of local people to dam. I also feel crippled before the powerful Pakistani establishment, but i refuse to accept what is imposed. our refusal is our victory. In the mediated age of today it is important to make our voice heard in media. at least it will be recorded in history.

  12. Ghulam sarwar is very right in his version of saying that non diamer people should not need to create problem for Diamir if they want development by displacing local people from their mother lands, but the dam will defenatly badly affect the climate of whole Northern Areas, so I think we should have this right to cry, Mr. Sarwar may not have objection on this.. can he tell us how many jobs the govt has allocated to Diamer folks, I am sure non

  13. Mr Qamar Kaira is only an instrument in the big Pakistani machinery of corrupt governance. The institutional fabric of the country has remained stagnant for all of its life. Pakistani nation-state maintains a colonial attitude or relationanship with Gilgit-Baltistan. Be it in the form of Karia, Abbas Sarfaraz Khan, Faisal Saleh Hayat or whatever all will deal in this predisposed way.
    How can we change this? By fierecly resisting every single policy that is imposed on us form Islamabad. By mercilessly staying away from being emotional for Pakistani politics, meaning that we boycott all NALA electiions, boycott all laws that are imposed from Islamabad. By strenghtening and tapping into our local nationalist sentiment. However we must note that we are up agaisnt a very powerful system whcih has traditiionally frustrated our designs by formenting sectarian clashes in GB, coopting our so-caled intellectuals and politicians. Great causes require great faith and great dreams. When Martin Luther King the black American leader delivered his ‘ I have a dream speech’ in 1968 all thought that he was crazy, naive and what else. In fact he was murdered for his views. King’s struggle against racism in America today resulted in, only in 4 decades time, the election of Barack Obama the first black US president in its history.
    We the people fo Gilgit-Baltistan have nothing to loose by supporting our nationalist causes and registering our voices againt injustices that are perpetrated every single hour by the Pakistani establishment. We have every thing to losse by eating the small lolly pops offered by the establishment.

    GBPost Team member

  14. Dear Habib Rehman!

    Look the same cries we heard in 70s when KKH was underway.
    Now we will get constitutional rights and also representation in National Assebly which is 6 years dream of us,because now we will be n important styakeholder in the country.
    So lets be hopeful.Yes we should do demand the befifits for the IDPs of the dam like that of Tarbela which the government gave them.
    So lets take this historic opportunity.
    For climate,we need rainfall in north- obiviously some climatic veriations will do occur but there are posiive aspects too like rain.

  15. I would like to reiterate here that the mega level dams’ construction should be seen in a regional context than in a specific domain. We need to envision the upcoming phenomena in, at least, a triangular mode which would have its outcomes (both negative & some positive) on the entire mountain/cultural communiites of the Karakuram, Himalaya, Hindu Kush, Pamirs, Kun Lun and others when the mega-level dam of Baldir valley (in Sariqol/xinjiang), Diamar and Skardu dams on the Indus River vallyes, and the Afghan-Tajik dam on the Panj River will complete.

    All of us, being human, live in the physical/natural environment and within this circle we have materialized/strategized our intentions and thoghts. Going beyond our given limits of needs and we (cultura communiities)are diving in the domain of our greed, and have made this globe as a hell for ourselves and did not care much for the physical environment. If we continue doing so, then the physical environment would definitely further curse on the cultural environments. But the step requires to be taken from our local levels against such injustices of constructing the mega level dams.

    As we are deprived of our fundamental human rights such as political, constitutional and economic etc., so is the the environmental problem as a genuine human right issue that rests on the top. It is a real obligation upon us to, therefore, strongly resist such mega level dams as a human right issue. If the Nature is further distuburbed then we, the cutlural communities in these moutains, would be compelled to any negative consquences: at least, permanent out-migration from these regions could come up, if no stronger effect than this was seen. Techncial reports have been quoated in the previous comments above.

  16. Dear and Respectable
    Ghulam Sarwar
    I don’t now from where you have studied all the martial material, which had made you so much, confident about the positivism, I think that you have been part of the establishment and have spend most of your time reading official misleading propagandas.
    How says that North needs more rain, how come we will get more job benefits. Did you ever spent time in studying the fake research study, by the Government official , have you ever tried to think with a vision of a human, because human have certain rights.
    So an advice, read proper information and do not spent your time on trash literature, or if get time discuss and interact with the local people of Diamer, or if get chance go some one who has the real information.
    I hope you have time to understand.
    And last , even hundred jobs can not compensate the loss of the people of North specially the IDP of Dimer . Guiding is the right and duty of each individual, but if its wrong and pointless it’s a sin.

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