Gilgit - BaltistanPakistan

[Press Review] Diamir – Bhasha Dam Controversy


SAMA TV report by Manzar Shigri about Diamer-Bhasha Dam

Now that the Bhasha dam is making news it is time to revisit it. It seems that the decision is motivated more by politics and a need to avoid the construction of a dam at Kalabagh than anything else. Here is why: the dam will be dependent on the glaciers that feed the Indus in the area and hence should be a less feasible option than Kalabagh which has five rivers flowing into it and is in an area with reasonable average rainfall….

Letter to Editor (The News)


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, beyond 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.

Letters to Editor (DAWN) 

……First, the local population resents the fact that the Pakistani government has taken the decision to construction the dam without taking them into confidence. Given the history of alienation and oppression that people in the Northern Areas have suffered, they feel that the Bhasha dam is yet another indicator of the fact that Islamabad has no regard for their sentiments and concerns. Second, even the nomenclature of the dam is indicative of the Pakistani establishment’s outlook as the dam has deliberately been named Bhasha after a village in Kohistan in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) even though the location of the dam is in Gilgit-Baltistan. The Bhasha Village, which will house only one percent of the dam, is shown to be in the NWFP. Therefore, earnings from the dam are likely to go to the NWFP even though the major part of the dam will be situated in the Diamer District of Northern Areas. Third, the local population are demanding a share in the royalty as they fear that Islamabad would pass off all the benefits to the NWFP. Even though the entire land for the proposed Bhasha dam is in Northern Areas, the NWFP has been made the primary beneficiary as it have the online power station to distributed the electricity generated from the dam. Fourth, the dam is to be located in an extremely sensitive seismic zone. Locals fear that the dam may cause widespread destruction if another earthquake like that of 8 October 2005 takes place in that region…..

An article by Muhammad Sadique


……In light of these and other findings of the report, the fact finding team recommends that the affected people are given access to project-related information in their language and in regular meetings, where they should also be given the right to provide input into the decision-making processes. Especially the concerns of the affected people related to compensation and resettlement need to be listen to and acted upon by the project authorities….

Recommendations of Sustainable Development and Policy Institute.


 If the World Bank has really refused to finance projects in Azad Kashmir and Northern areas, what does it mean? UNFORTUNATELY, IT COULD MEAN THAT: 1. The World Bank questions Pakistani ownership of these projects and therefore does not want to lend for that until Kashmir issue is settled. 2. The World Bank will only consider hydel projects in non-controversial areas of Pakistan. Guess what? Kalabagh is the main project meeting that criteria….

An article on why World Bank refused to finance Diamer-Bhasha Dam project.


DAWN, in its editorial, on 22nd August wrote that if the dam is constructed without taking the communities into confidence, it will weaken the federation.

Think about it.

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  1. I would like to come up with few other storngs rationales regarding the forced construction of the these dams, if the govrnment of Pakistan and especially the NWFP is too much insistent and persistent to their political stance.

    I would request our readers, commentators, political reps and activists, environmental agents, journalists, layawers and other CSO reps to see these points (as under) sincerely and with open minds.

    1) The name, prevoiusly given to this proposed dam as “Basha” and later on prefixed with “Diamar-Basah,” now needs to be changed as either only “Diamar Dam” or “Gilgit-Baltistan Dam.” Basha is beign used by the NWFP as a corner stone for claim by the NWFP in order to exploit it.

    2) “Diamar Dam” or “Gilgit-Baltistan Dam” must be taken up as the “humans and other biodiversities’ rights” because of its worst environmental menaces (except for some postive effects); then of course, other facets of human rights violation such as poltical and economic, are already annexed with it.

    3) And above all, the insistent and persistent behavior of the federal goverment is leading the people of GB to rise up and acquire its lost territories and deprived peoples from the NWFP. The two bordering districts of NWFP named Kohistan (of the Shina speakers) and Chitral (of the Khowar and other speakers) are historically, geographically, ethnically, linguistically, religously and even politically parts of Gilgit Baltistan. But unfortunately, the cunning British-Indian government only for the administrative reasons, included these two districts of Chitral and Kohistan with NWFP.Now, there is no more Birtish-Indian government.

    This is now, therefore, the right time to rise up and reunite these brethren of Chitral and Kohistan with Gilgit-Baltistan.

  2. Well
    With Kana or Kaira and the entire establishment, we should start a movement, because the Dam is just a starting, more to come the hundreds of Hydro-power stations and railroad is next where we will go, what will happen to us.

    If we will not clear our minds and languages we will lose more.
    And as for the constitutional package, it’s to fool the people through such balloon-gifts. Looking big but without any improper impact. And what ever package might the establishment may give us it is not trust worthy, and it will never meet our demands and desires. Because it never done by us it just to make a blind man to cross the road and away form the traffic which is moving though the land of blind.

  3. The Gilgit Baltistan region is about to get a chance where over the next ten years it will recieve a share from direct and indirect investment of over 12,600 million dollars. I hope there are people qualified in economics who can do the cost and benefit analysis to prove what else could ensure a monetary injection of this volume under conditions where nearly no other alternates have been identified by the circles who are non-supportive to this initiative that notwithstanding some after effects is poised to bring many more improvements in the lives of the communities affected.

    The following alternative livelihood options as well as benefits have been suggested by the local people to compensate for the limited subsistence they draw at present with better prospects:

    · Creation of alternative employment opportunities for the local people
    · Free electricity for the affected people
    · Agriculture land for the displaced and otherwise affected in Punjab
    · Fishing and tourism income of the dam should go to the Northern Areas
    · Allot plots for the displaced in other cities
    · Local people should be given work during the construction and operation of the
    · Dam colonies should be built in this area
    · Tax on the material used for the construction of the dam should be given to this
    · Establish industrial and tourist zone in Diamer
    · The hospital should be converted into a medical college
    · Improvement of local schools

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