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The Politics of Kalabagh Dam and Pakhtunkhwa

Posted on May 29, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Politics, Society
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Owais Mughal

Map Pakistan Dam Kalabagh Mangla Basha TarbelaKalabagh Dam, which has been a dead project for all practical purposes, got a stir yesterday when Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf said that the project has now been shelved for ever.

On the same day, another interesting development happened about NWFP where it was decided to change the name of NWFP (North West Frontier Province) to ‘Pakhtunkhwa

1. Kalabagh Dam

For the past few decades, both of these issues have always created passions and exposed the fissures in Pakistani society. The politicians from three smaller provinces have been unanimous in hailing the decision on shelving Kalabagh dam for ever, whereas JI and PTI have been very vocal against the decision. Infact, the opposition from Punjab has been so great that later in the day, Minister had to change his words and he clarified that the project was ‘on hold’ and not totally discarded.

PML(Q)’s role on this issue, however, made me smile. Their whole politics nowadays revolves around saying and doing opposite to what PML(N) and PPP say and do. If PML(N) says ‘X’ on an issue then PML(Q) right away says ‘NOT X’ without going in the merits. So while PML(N) is too busy with the lawyers, PML(Q) got the chance to do politics on the issue and their statements are all pro Kalabagh Dam today. One should ask PML(Q) what did they do about the project in the past 6 years? PPP who has substantial vote base in Sindh and NWFP can take this stand against the dam construcition and has done so.

Many people are also saying that the whole purpose of stirring a dead issue like Kalabagh Dam by the Minister at this point in time is just to cause diversion from other issues like price hike, energy shortage, lawyers etc etc.

During my undergrad studies, I once took a course called ‘Engineering Economics’. I don’t remember much from that course now except for one line from my text book. It went like this:

“Mega Projects of a country should be started immediately after planning is done otherwise they’ll end up becoming political issues”

Over the years this line has proved itself true over and over again. I think this is exactly what has happened to Kalabagh Dam project too. It has now become such a big political issue that nobody can dare to challenge it in 3 smaller provinces. And just like my Engineering Economics book said, as soon as Governement mulled on the decision of building the Kalabagh dam, the opposition against it grew stronger and stronger in Sindh and NWFP.


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The idea of Kalabagh Dam was conceived in 1953 and until 1973 it was going to be a water storage place for irrigation purposes only. From 1973 to 1984, the design was changed to make it a multi-purpose mega dam. If completed it will be 260 feet high, will submerge 35000 acres of land, will generate 3600 MW of hydel power, store 6.7 MAF water for flood control and supply 12.8 MAF water to Mianwali, Khushab, D.I. Khan and Jhelum districts for irrigation.

In 70s and 80s my family used to subscribe to Urdu Digest. I very vividly remember that in summer of 1979, Urdu Digest had a special issue on Kalabagh Dam. The issue showed an artist’s imagination on title page and it was touted as the mluti purpose dam with multiple spillways for flood control, agriculture and Power Generation. 29 years have passed since that introductory report of the Kalabagh appeared in Urdu digest. What has happened since then? I believe nothing has happened on gorund as far as actual dam construcution goes. I do remember reading about some heavy machinery was once moved to the spot in one of the previous government (2005) and that is all.

I remember reading late Wali Khan (ANP)’s statement many years ago, that if Kalabagh Dam is built then nothing will be left of NWFP cities of Nowshera to Mardan. The water level of Kalabagh dam will be higher than these two cities and will cause severe water-logging problem in these two cities. So much so that they may turn into lakes. The claim of Wali Khan is however, refuted by the dam planners which point out dam’s altitude at 915 feet is lower than that of Nowshera at 938 feet and Mardan at 958 feet.

The Sindhi politicians are also against the dam becuase they think there will be not much water left in the system for Sindh’s needs. Already the water flow downstream of Kotri barrage is practically zero. The sea water has come inlands into River Indus delta and almost 2 million acres of arable land has been lost to Sea water there causing mass exodus of people to cities.

I’ve also seen photos of Lansdowne Bridge Sukkur from 1950s to present. In 1950s there used to be water under the bridge stretching from bank to bank. That water under the bridge has since flown away. Now all one can see is a big sandy desert under the bridge and then a narrow river slowly inching towards the delta (except for monsoon floods).

Over the years I’ve also traveled extensively in Sindh and wherever I’ve gone, I’ve seen slogans of

‘Kalabagh Dam naa-manzoor’ (Kalabagh Dam not acceptable)

written as wall chalking all the way from Kashmore to Karachi.

baat se baat nikalti hai” (one thing leads to another) In August 2004, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was camaigning for Shaukat Aziz in Tharparkar, Sindh and there he gave this funny statement which has remained stuck in my memory. He said:

“agar aap ko Kalabagh Dam ka naam pasand nahi…naam mein kia rakha hai… meri taraf see aap is ka naam neela-bagh ye peela-bagh rakh deN..” (If you don’t like the name of Black Garden Dam… What is in a name? For what I care, you can rename the project as either Blue-Garden Dam or Yellow-Garden Dam)

So what do you guys think? I think the dam will never be constructed. It is a dead horse. The issue has been raised now to probably create diversion from other issues.

One point that does go in favor of building Kalabagh dam is the forecast that all future wars will be fought to control energy and food sources like fresh water resources, oil and gas reserves etc. If Kalabagh dam is built it may provide a water storage which may be needed soon as both Mangla and Tarbela are silting fast and may not live more than few years.

An informative editorial appeard in Dawn on May 28 on the subject. It is given in the reference section below. I suggest our readers to read it too.

2. Pakhunkhwa

When I first read this story, I told myself, “so what?”. Exactly. so what if NWFP is getting renamed Pakhtunkhwa? One of my favourite real life anecdotes goes like this. There was a Chemistry lecture going on in Karachi University. The teacher drew two molecules on the board and told the class to name them anything because it was not important. To this a guy from back benches shouted:

“Madam. in ka naam pappoo aur guddoo rakh deN”

Point is naam mein kia rakha hai? (What is so important about a name?). My personal read is this. After USSR’s demise ANP has lost its ‘kaaba’ and a source of ideology. They were looking for some issue on which to do politics. They got revived on new issues to do politics for two reasons. First was the renewed Pashtoon nationalism fueled by the on going war on both sides of the durand line, and second issue was created to rename the province as ‘Pakhtunkhwa’. This second issue is so big that ANP won the recent elections in NWFP, in part, on this slogan and in part because JI didn’t take part in the elections. Now that ANP is in power, they need action on this issue so that their constituencies can think that yes some real work is getting done, and hence raising of Pakhtunkhwa issue now.

I personally think there is no harm. If at all, it will strengthen the federation. If in Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan multiple nationalities and ethnicities can live together without worrying too much about the province’s name then the name Pakhtunkhwa is a non-issue too. It will become an issue only if one wants it to be, and I hope it doesn’t happen. The name Pakhtunkhwa is also a ground reality. If you’ve ever been to Quetta, you’ll notice that 100% of the shops in Pashtoon area write their addresses on their shops ending in ‘junoobi Pashtunkhwa’ as the province’s name instead of Balochistan. So my point is that the name ‘Pashtunkhwa’ is already a ground reality. Lets not unnecessarily push back on it.

End Point:

The above are my opinions. I am however, not tied to them without reasoning. If somebody can educate me otherwise on why building Kalabagh Dam now is a good idea and why renaming NWFP as Pakhtunkhwa is not a good decsion, I will be open to change my views as a result of arguments and counter arguments.

Reference:

1. Dawn editorial: Beyond Kalabagh
2. Kalabagh Dam Political, Environmental & Humanitarian Disaster in Pakistan by Ayaz Latif Palijo
3. Infeasibility of Kalabagh Dam at www.dawn.com

51 Comments on “The Politics of Kalabagh Dam and Pakhtunkhwa”

  1. auk says:
    May 29th, 2008 1:10 am

    To all those who say, “Naam main kiya rakha hai”, let’s change the names of the remaining provinces to North East Frontier Province, South West Frontier Province, and South East Frontier province. I am sure Owais and all like minded people won’t have a problem with it. I will go one step further; just name your kids by their geography, the first one, the second one, the 3rd one, and so on and so forth. Owais (I am sorry, the —– one), are you happy now.

  2. Afsandyar Alam says:
    May 29th, 2008 2:03 am

    auk, are you having a bad day or just having problems with reading!

    Owais Mughal is arguing that the name should be changed to what the people of the province want.

    Get a glass of cold water, yaar. And maybe some reading glasses.

  3. Afsandyar Alam says:
    May 29th, 2008 2:08 am

    I agree with Owais Mughal that we need to give NWFP a proper name that people of my province can identify with. Personally, I will be happy with Pakhtoonkhwa or Khyber.

  4. May 29th, 2008 2:38 am

    There should be no problem in whatever the name of the province is. The politicians just want to keep some issue going..

  5. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    May 29th, 2008 3:08 am

    @ PukhtunKhwa, KalaBagh Dam

    Once again our Sarhadhi Pakistanis brothers and sisters
    are made buffoons by The donkeys of Pakistan Politics,

    Musharraf-Dushmani mein Muhn Kala ho gaya
    Wo Kala tha, magar Bagh tha, jo dam fool hogaya

    Siyyasat kay khilandray bana g’aiy ik aur joke,
    Ab banein gay lataif Pukhtunon kay khwa-makhwa

    I would suggest ” RESHAMISTAN ” with reference o
    shara-e-resham.

  6. Anjum Amin Siddiqui says:
    May 29th, 2008 3:40 am

    I always thought how is it possible that a project concieved in 50s remained viable. It is good for politics cuz it stir a debate as a result whatever going on becomes insignificant. Nothing will change in this country whether ruled by military dictators or so called democates.

  7. faisal says:
    May 29th, 2008 4:37 am

    “One should ask PML(Q) what did they do about the project in the past 6 years?”

    This is a real contentious issue. Those who are in favor are worried not to stir nationalistic emotions. Those who are against it have neither the answer nor the vision to provide the alternative. And we are stuck with, well, nothingness.

    I would rather that we break all the provinces in smaller administrative entities so that these areas gets good governance for a change. All the provinces are just too big with too many problems to be dealt by a single governing body.

    Provinces should not mean anything more than administrative area. We should not associate ourselves with a particular region. Look at India, they have broken up their side of Punjab in different states. We should follow their good examples instead of their stupid movies.

  8. May 29th, 2008 5:33 am

    I think Dam are vital to country’s economy , not only they serve as water reservoir but also control flooding, and a source for hydro-power. I haven’t read much about issue until recently.I have read different opinions whether we should build it or not. The most interesting was from sindh side , that

    “jab sarhad aur punjab ,pani se bijli nikal leinge tu sindh mein us pani se fasal kese ugey gi”
    :)
    i don’t remember the source.
    but apart from it , as of now , I think only sind’s stance about the construction is justified technically. (NWFP asked about the royalties and Punjab agreed to include those areas into NWFP ). Sind’ concern is about the low share of water that it will get after the dam construction. More importantly , some one quoted Ayaz Amir on wikipedia, that the source of dispute is lack of trust towards punjab. Water theft has been a constant observation in our history, and building of exsiting dam has weakened the mighty indus river to barren lands.
    International law gives more rights to the tailenders of a river.
    Anyways, these studies should be done before the construction of dams, to avoid wastage of national funds, but if they have done it, and has already invested an enormous amount, then I think we should push it towards the finishing mark and start thinking about finding a workaround for the resulting situation.

  9. verysmart says:
    May 29th, 2008 6:03 am

    I don’t have any issue regarding the name of a piece of land when its dwellers want it to be changed to whatever.

    However, I fail to appreciate these dwellers when they let a bunch of failed politicians win an election majorly based on this decision.

    It shows how easy it is for our crooked politicians to sway election result by having the timid public chanting slogans and dieing for non-issues.

    99% of Pakistani have no idea where and how Kalabagh will be built? what are the geological and geographical requirements of building a large Dam? What will be the replacements of Kalabagh, and if they are themselves feasible or not? What are we going to do if Terbella and Mangla (or either one of them even) silts to the point of non-functionality? Why a Dam in Sindh is not feasible at all as a replacement of Kalabagh? Why does the World Bank refrain to give loans to developing countries for Hydroelectric production (conspiracy theory: coz they want us to buy energy from International sources and remain dependent)

    And yet we have deadly street protests and swinging poll results based on these issues? I mean When I see a Pan Eating plumber on the streets of Karachi saying “Kalabagh Dam Nahi Banna Chahheye Kyon Key Altaf Bhai nay kaha hai ke yeh theek nahi hai!!!!!!!” it freaking makes me sick and wanting to push all the bewakooof and GHAREEB AWAM into either Afghnistan or Indian Ocean!

    I am still a fan and strong supporter of Mushrraf, who rightly says that we, as a nation, are not ready and do not deserve Democracy at all.

    What I totally hate to see, is that a bunch of stampeding crowd full of ignorant, stupids deciding for the country’s future and its policies.

    What we need is a stern dictator, with honest intentions. China, Singapore, UAE, present day Russia, Oman (after 1970s) are beacons of non democratic Developed (and Sane) countries, so why cant we be the same?

  10. Barkatullah says:
    May 29th, 2008 6:22 am

    It is the right of the people of the province to change the Provinces name to whatever they want. I am a Punjabi and have no concerns at all about whatever the name is. As long as it represents the wishes of the people of that province.

  11. SAIMA says:
    May 29th, 2008 6:37 am

    I am also from the Punjab and I think that if Punjabis can live in Punjab, Sindhis in Sindh and Baluchis in Baluchistan, then certainly the Pukhtoon should be able to live in Pukhtoonkhwa. Certainly there are also Pukhtoon in Baluchistan, but then there are also Sindhis in the Punjab and Punjabis and Pukhtoon in Sindh. I agree that we shoudl not turn this into a big issue. People of the province should decide what the province is called.

  12. YASIR KHAN says:
    May 29th, 2008 6:50 am

    First of all I disagree with your analysis of ANP winning in NWFP becuase of renmaing issue. Renaming has been one of the slogan of ANP but if you care to analyse their campaign you would notice that it was focused around security situation in province, renaming was aside issue. Obviously given the history of political strugle that ANP has done for renaming of province it is one of important issue, but claiming that they won election becuase of it is too imaginative
    secondly for Mr VERYSMART
    i would say you are as smart as your FA pass genral , get a life or jump into ravi drain if you cannot see democracy in this country

  13. Asim Kaleem says:
    May 29th, 2008 7:10 am

    Indeed Kalabag Dam was the need of the hour for Pakistan since the rule o Zia ul Haq, but it was only brought in media when any leader wants to divert the attention of Paksitanis from other issues. No body was and is sincere in execution of this project. So now its time to forget it and think kalabagh. Being a Civil Engineer and a resident of Punjab province, I think we should now look for other reserviors and their building up than to again alter that matter which is actually had been fully politicized.

  14. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    May 29th, 2008 7:29 am

    @ PANION PAR LARWATAY HEIN,
    AB YEH SIYYASSI BHERIAY

    KEH PANI, KHOON BANTA NEHEIN HAY
    MAGAR, KHOO’N HOJATA HAY PANI
    Rafay Kashmiri

  15. shahran says:
    May 29th, 2008 7:34 am

    First of all, I think people should not have any problem in renaming the province.

    We have seen in recent history that a number of cities , places have been renamed most of those changes happened in India.

    I don’t agree with the ANP claim that the name was given by British so we don’t accept it. There are other places which were named by the British such as Jacobabad.

    There are other names also suggested such as Khyber, Abaseen, Afghania. Actually the letter A in Pakistan is the Afghania province mentioned by Chaudhry Rehmat Ali.

    There are numerous examples where the provinces are named based on their geographical location.

    For example, in India U.P (Uttar Pradesh (North Province).Madhya Pradesh (Central Province )

    Also even in the US, we hear these terms such as Northeast, Midwest, West Coast, Pacific Northwest,
    Southwest.

    Canada also does have a large North West Territory.

  16. Aamer says:
    May 29th, 2008 9:37 am

    Owais, do you have a link to the bigger sized version of the map?

  17. YLH says:
    May 29th, 2008 9:54 am

    The whole ANP Pukhtunkhwa angle requires some reading into…

    I was writing a series on the history of the Pukhtunkhwa issue based on primary sources alone (without my own input or opinion) for a respectable mainstream newspaper. Suddenly it was discontinued. There are agendas working all around. Let us not be stupid for once… this is a cover up. It is responsibility to call a spade a spade…

    In any event… without getting into conspiracy theories:

    1. The People of NWFP should decide what the province should be called. The people of NWFP should decide by a popular vote… on this one issue.

    2. For the record… Punjab and Sindh are not ethnicity based names… but rather ethnicities are based on regional names in these cases.

    3. One wonders why the KK and others did not raise this demand when they had such a strong government in NWFP pre-1947?

    Perhaps Sir Olaf Caroe had something to do with this whole idea in the first place… but lets not get into that.

    I agree with Owais Mughal’s analysis.

  18. krash says:
    May 29th, 2008 10:08 am

    The opposition to renaming NWFP does not come from Punjab, Sindh or Baluchistan. It comes from within NWFP. The Hazara minority (avout 25% of NWFP) is opposed. Should they be overruled?

  19. MQ says:
    May 29th, 2008 2:32 pm

    Early in 2005 I had written a letter in Daily Times on Kalabagh Dam. I would like to copy it here for it might answer some of the questions raised in this post and in some of the comments (sorry for taking so much space):

    “Sir,

    General Musharraf has been trying to build a consensus, in his own ambivalent style, on the Kalabagh Dam (KBD) for the last five years now. But the consensus doesn

  20. Hafeez Jamali says:
    May 29th, 2008 10:24 pm

    Naming a Province or region is the right of the people living in that province. People from outside the province should respect their right to do so instead of sitting in judgment over them. What this analysis and many comments on the forum betray is that people from outside Pakhtunkhwa, mainly Urdu and Punjabi speakers, feel that they have a right to do so because they stand as guardians of Pakistaniat. I think it’s time they let go of their watchdog role in the interest of equality among federating units. As for the Hazara and other ethnic groups living in Pashtunkhwa, they have genuine concerns over the name issue but those issues have to be resolved through a dialogue between the ethnic groups living in the region not by the superimposition of a decisions from Islamabad as has been the norm for the past 60 years or so. One way to do this would be by giving equal priority to Hindko language and culture in the cultural agenda of the province and recognize its multi-ethnic composition instead of resorting to the failed policy of denying the province’s historical identity. In any event, this is an issue which needs to be resolved through a democratic dialogue between the constituent ethnic groups in Pakhtunkhwa.

    As for Kalabagh Dam, the author’s ambivalence on the issue flies in the face of the very facts he cites. Kalabagh has been designed as a High Water Dam which implies that a minimal level/volume of water has to be stored there regardless of actual supplies of water available in the Indus River System. The key question to ask is whether the river system has enough supplies round the year to maintain water for electricity generation and release it downstream of Kalabagh for growers’ needs and downstream of Kotri into the sea for preventing the encroachment of Sindh’s lands by the sea. Even without Kalabagh we have problem of salinity and water logging downstream of Kotri, so what the situation would be with the construction of Kalabagh is anybody’s guess. In spite of these clear objections, and the long and bitter history of opposition to project by 3 our of 4 provinces, the writer’s comments that the government should have gone ahead with it years ago based on a Business Economics calculation betray a fundamental disregard to the working of the political system.

    The writer also ignores the history of Indus river water distribution where Punjab, the upper riparian, has consistently ignored the rights of the lower riparians such as Sindh which it must respect under national and international law. For example, Chashma-Jhelum Link Canal (21000 cusecs) and Taunsa-Panjnad Link Canal (12000 cusecs) have been kept open for the last several years without prior consent and permission of the Sindh provincial government in flagrant violation of the inter-provincial agreement. What guarantee, if any, is there that it will not do the same with the distribution network of Kalabagh Dam given that it enjoys a simple majority in the national assembly and most of the ministerial slots in any government?

    It is amazing how many Pakistanis refuse to reflect critically on their own position as members of particular regions and ethnic groups and continue to subscribe to dominant views which ignore the rights of other Provinces by invoking ‘the national interest’. For people who have been at the receiving end of the federal government’s policies, ‘national interest’ almost always translates as Punjab’s interests.

  21. readinglord says:
    May 29th, 2008 11:04 pm

    Mera to mashwarrah he kih kih nah Kala baagh pih nah Bhasha pih, in Parvezon, khaskar Raja Parvez Ashraf par band bandhein. Sach kehte hein

  22. Idrees Ahmad says:
    May 29th, 2008 11:10 pm

    I think “KHYBER” is a good option for the name of the province since represents all the residents of the province. But that is only my opinion. Ultimately the people of the province should have a say. I think this is the type of topic where the best idea is to hold a referendum and let the people of the province decide for themselves.

  23. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    May 29th, 2008 11:37 pm

    @readinglord,

    oh ! how sad,
    Gharibon kay pani ko waste ne karein, yeh hamary
    daulat hay jo roz samundar mein zay’a hoti hay, jahan
    zarurat hay, wahan dam bannay chahiay, kia is amr say
    app ko ittifaq nehein hay ??

  24. Manzoor says:
    May 30th, 2008 6:23 am

    Technical studies conducted by the German GTZ have shown that the rivers of Chitral district could produce around 6,000MW of electricity from micro-hydrels and similar is the case of Swat. Our rulers keep the nation busy through such controversial projects that breed mistrust and hatred among the federating units of the state.

  25. Manzoor says:
    May 30th, 2008 6:51 am

    Regarding renaming NWFP, an interesting letter published in Dawn May 19 2008.

    The ANP is considering renaming of the NWFP as their foremost issue. Their entire argument is based on the premise that the NWFP is not a proper noun but a geographical direction.

    Let me give an example of India, with which country the leaders of the ANP have been having very close relations, extending over three generations. Two Indian provinces have their names based on geographical direction. The Uttar Pradesh (UP) means northern province. The Madhya Pradesh (MP)means central province.

    The Upians, including Nehru, the first prime minister of India, are so proud of and attached to the abbreviation UP that when new names were being given to some provinces of India , Nehru rejected the name of JP (Jut Pranth), literal translation of United Provinces which was its name during British time.

    To retain the abbreviation of UP, Nehru named it as Uttar Pradesh (northern province), though it is not a northern province of India by any means. The most northern province is Punjab, followed by Haryana and Delhi. UP lies south of these three provinces.The reason why the Upians are so attached to the phrase UP is that by their sheer dedication and exemplary leadership they have made UP the foremost province of India. There being no quota reservations, the Delhi secretariat is dominated by Upians. During British times the most important officers in ICS, after the British officers, were the Upians.

    If we had sincere leadership like UP had, they could have made the NWFP, which has more per capita resources than UP, the foremost province of Pakistan. If I was a leader of the NWFP, I would have included in my manifesto the following issues: doubling the GDP in five years by value-adding to the fruits, precious stones, and the marble; bringing merit and high standard in educational institutions and abolishing cheating in examinations.

    The manifesto would have also included establishing food processing training centres in every district, as well as at least 10 fruit-processing and preservation factories, plus at least two gem-processing training centres and four gem-processing factories, along with two marble-processing training centres and four marble-processing units.

    There would also have been at least 10 small dams for production of electricity in addition to the Kalabagh dam.

    Last, selecting, on merit only, dedicated and motivated youth for training in the US for fruit processing, in Switzerland for gem-cutting, and in Italy for marble processing.

    If there is sincerity the resources for all this would pour in without any difficulty. Imagine, this will attract labour from outside the NWFP as against the present situation where we only export raw labour from the NWFP.

    At the end of five years the Pathans will start loving the abbreviation of the NWFP as Upians love UP, and who even in Karachi name their locality as UP Society and UP Morr.

  26. JAVED says:
    May 30th, 2008 9:26 am

    I also think that the best solution is a referendum. Let the people choose whatever they want. Those who live there should decide what it is called. Personally, I also like Khyber.

  27. JAVED says:
    May 30th, 2008 9:28 am

    Personally, I think ALL the existing provinces should be broken up into smaller provinces. This will give more opportunity to smaller towns and also help settle many rivalries within provinces.

  28. Owais Mughal says:
    May 30th, 2008 8:36 pm

    Manzoor Saheb. I see great substance in your comment on both renaming of NWFP and KB dam. Thanks. I agree that ANP is making a non-issue a fore-front issue but since it is a non-issue to start with so I personally don’t feel any objection to it. NWFP or Pakhtunkhwa. what’s the issue ?

    Another commentator also very rightly said that opposition to name change is not coming from other three provinces but mostly from Hazara region. Probably a referendum on this issue may be the right way to go forward.

  29. Owais Mughal says:
    May 30th, 2008 8:50 pm

    Hafeez Jamali saheb, I respect your informative comment on Kalabagh Dam and accept my post doesn’t cover all aspects of the issue.

  30. Owais Mughal says:
    May 30th, 2008 8:53 pm

    MQ saheb
    You ae correct that Bhasha would’ve been much cheaper to build b/c it is supposed to be on a narrow gorge. Had work started on it in 1990, it would’ve been ready by now.

  31. Owais Mughal says:
    May 30th, 2008 8:56 pm

    Aamer, i don’t have a larger or a clearer map than what I used here. If you do web search you will find quite a few maps showing Kalabagh dam’s location and area it was going to submerge etc etc.

  32. MQ says:
    May 30th, 2008 9:47 pm

    By the way, the word is Basha, a Shina language word. (Shina is the language spoken in the Northern Areas,) The print media erroneously writes it as Bhasha.

    The original Survey of Pakistan map shows it correctly as Basha, and so does your map in the post, which is probably taken from the original map.

  33. Rita says:
    May 31st, 2008 1:13 pm

    If it is for water one is building a dam, I don’t support it. Because the social and environmental impact of building dams is truly devastating. People who are submerged lose everything. As for irrigation, it has been found that the needs of farmers are better served from local water harvesting schemes managed by villagers themselves.
    I am impressed that the decision to not make this Kalabagh dam was made without any big protest movement having to take place.

  34. Fahim says:
    May 31st, 2008 4:58 pm

    Pakistan is losing groundwater. The river water is unreliable because of less snow and receding glaciers.
    Water harvesting has to be the way, along with strict water management.
    Here is an article about Sacremento region going dry:
    http://www.counterpunch.com/sandronsky05312008.html
    Weekend Edition
    May 31 / June 1, 2008
    Going Dry in Sacramento
    Will There be Water Riots?

  35. readinglord says:
    May 31st, 2008 11:02 pm

    @Rafay. You misunderstood me Rafay. I wanted to say:

    “Why can’t we dam (with the addition of

  36. Mahendra says:
    June 1st, 2008 8:09 am

    As an indian we can tell u that this is a slippery slope.It will only be a matter of months when the pashtun pride will translate to despise of non-pashtuns and hatred of pakistanis and will eventually sow the seeds for an independent Pakhtunkhwa.We have seen this sort of things happening since 70s and 80s.Dont fall into the trap of a silly name change when you are clearly associating an ethnicity to a region.This could only lead to bloodbath of non-pashtuns by radicals because they will begin to associate the region as theirs property and see everyone one else as outsiders.I read comments below about UP pride which is fine because they disassociate thier ethnicity/religion and pride thier superior artistic intellegence,but the moment u inject either religion or ethnicity this is opening a new can of worms.As much as you would like to think indians would like to watch pakistan disintegrate this is inviting more troubles for indians. Radicals have already wreaked havoc, cant imagine what level they will take if pakistan actually starts to disintegrates.
    Not saying that every pastun would feel that way but radical groups will emerge every corner that will strongly feel that way and pastuns will begin to sympathise with them.

  37. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    June 1st, 2008 12:30 pm

    @ Mahendra,

    you might understand the whole connection, as an
    Indian appriciation of Sarhad province.
    If ” Pakhtunkhwa “is adopted, then the significance
    is that its,
    ANP’s Govt. and her offshoot Pakhtunkhwa
    and you know very well their link with,
    dying Indian Nat. Congressi-Ghaffarism,
    Marxist secularism,
    ex-NAP, present ANP (Anti-Pakistan),
    and old ” Pakhtunistan Stunt”, (Afghanistan-backed).

    In short JUI Fazlu who is behind Taliban, can they tolerate any such backward, degrading developments ? NO !!
    certainly not, but in case if they are sold to Pakhtunism, and
    any attempt to dismember Pakistan, `

    THEN !
    Musharraf should intervene
    ISI, must do HER job,
    Army be put on alert and action be taken immediatly.
    FOR PAKISTAN’s INTEGRITY
    I COUNT ON YOU MESSSIEURS !!!

    Rafay Kashmiri

  38. ShahidnUSA says:
    June 1st, 2008 12:42 pm

    1. Paktunkhwa

    Pakhtunkhwa sounds more pakistani to me than N.W. F. P.
    Missunderstanding and skirmishes here and there aside, Pakhtuns are the strength and beauty of pakistan and a desire for a different name should not be taken as a reason to question their patriotism.

    Punjab amazes me with their level of education and fluency in Urdu language. Now its Pakhtuns turn to get educated and put other provinces to shame.

    2. Kalabaghdamn

    Dragging controversial issues is a waste of time in a very “wordy” society.
    Find an alternative solution and GET IT DONE.

  39. Daktar says:
    June 1st, 2008 6:55 pm

    The Kalabagh Dam has been needlessly politicised in my opinion. Successive governments have turned it into a contest between provinces. I think the decision to scrap it may be a good one. Let us go back to the drawing board and design a better solution. SOmething that is acceptable to all the provinces, meets the irrigation and energy needs, and is also environment friendly. Why get stuck in a solution that was never a good solution to begin with.

  40. June 2nd, 2008 4:38 am

    Pakistan created on ideology of Islam.changing name of N.W.F.P.will make no difference.We are all muslims and give our every thing for the safty of pakistan and integrity of our religion.About kalabagh dam it is to be decided by the people of entire country,in the best interest of our beloved pakistan.

  41. zain says:
    June 6th, 2008 7:52 pm

    regarding renaming of nwfp:

    i personally think nwfp isnt totally province where only pakthun lives,33% of total NWFP belongs to people of Hazara division where theres movement to get seperate province “hazara” also NWFP also inherits punjabis ,sikhs and many other nationalities.in deed there are 28 different cultures in NWFP alone so renaming NWFP might fire up movement for seperate province “Hazara” although pashtuns may be in majority but democracy is based upon respect and rights to minorites.
    i am Hazaraval i live in abbottabad pakistan people here will never want them to be called pasthuns.
    so govt must over there eyes and consider this issue seriously.

    regards

    zain

  42. Khufaash says:
    June 23rd, 2008 7:29 am

    Well, plz zain only 10 percent of the ppl in NWFP are Hazaras. But if u r so interested to use Hazara argument then u have to keep in mind tht punjab has 22 percent, sindh 29 and Baluchistan 33 percent Pushtoons. So govt must respect the pushtoons of all these provinces which also dont like to be called all these.

  43. readinglord says:
    June 23rd, 2008 9:31 pm

    What a joke! Pakistan is a country which would break up if a dam is built in it. Raja says KBD is controversial. I say what is not controversial. Even Warsak Dam was opposed by the Red Shirts. They would say it is being built to destroy Pakhtoons as they feared that Russia would bomb it. But they had even opposed Pakistan which was established despite being controversial.

    Again Mamtaz Bhutto has said that the five small dams being planned by the government are more dangerous than the KBD.

  44. zain says:
    June 24th, 2008 5:21 pm

    @ Khufaash:
    i respect your opinion but its ground reality that pashtuns migrated to sindh and punjab you know you can research that central areas of Peshawar is hometown to Hazarawals ,hazara isnt a small division we dont want ourselves to be recognized as pashtuns because we have our own identity you can get an idea that from all hazara which is the biggest division of NWFP ANP didnt get even a single vote all seats were won by PML(n) so i think its right of people here to preserve their origionality like Pashtuns.

  45. Khufaash says:
    July 24th, 2008 5:38 am

    Nobody is asking u pp to become Pashtuns. No Pashtun living in Punjab is called a Punjabi. Race or Ethnic distribution is not decided by the region u live in but by the blood and genes u have. To inform u most ppl living in Pakistan have migrated from other ares of India and other regions of Asia. By naming this NWFP to Pakhtoonistan will not turn ur genes around

  46. MQ says:
    July 24th, 2008 4:27 pm

    Zain and Khuffaash:

    I think there is a need to keep things in perspective.

    1. First, ANP did win a National Assembly seat from Hazara, and so did PPP and PML(Q). PML(N) did win big in Hazara but not all the seats.

    2. NWFP was carved out of Punjab as a separate province by the British in 1901. Hazara was one of the original 6 districts of NWFP.

    3. Later, with the increase in population, the districts mutated and multiplied. Hazara gave birth to 5 districts: Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Batagram and Kohistan.

    4. Ethinically, Kohistan is a distinct entity with its own predominant language, Kohistani, Pashto being a minority language in the district.

    5. Batagram is predominantly a Pashto-speaking district.

    6. In the remaining 3 districts, Mansehra has several pockets of Pashto while majority of the people are either Hindko-speaking or bilingual. Incidentally, Pashto Academy, Peshawar has also a branch in Mansehra.

    7. Abbottabad is largely Hindko-speaking. Because of the military academy, Kakul, Abbottabd city has a cosmopolitan character.

    8. Haripur has a pocket of Pashto speaking Mashawanis. Rest are Hindko.

    9. Many, if not most, of the Hindko speakers of Hazara are ethnically Pathans.

    10. There is no significant movement in the area for a separate province.

    Coming to the Kalabagh dam, which is the subject of the post, the opposition to he dam is not ethnic. It is mostly economic and political, and comes, in the NWFP, mainly from Peshawar, Charsadda and Mardan, the areas likely to be negatively affected by the dam.

  47. ihtasham ul haq says:
    March 29th, 2010 11:32 pm

    I think that the name of PESHAWAR is good for over provence.

    i am not in the favour of changing the name of NWFP.
    Thanks
    Ihatasham UL HAQ Durrani

  48. ASAD says:
    March 30th, 2010 1:13 am

    I am a proud Punjabi but I thin this whole debate on the name is silly. If the people of the province want Pukhtoonkhwa then they should have it. I say just do a referendum and whatever name gets most votes IN THE PROVINCE should be it. It is for the people of the province to decide.

  49. Haroon says:
    March 30th, 2010 1:22 am

    I agree with Asad. Let the people of NWFP decide themselves by referrendum.

  50. Azheruddin says:
    April 12th, 2010 10:37 pm

    The low politics being played by PML Q and N over the name of NWFP is really sad and bad.

    I say let the people of NWFP decide what they want to call themselves. Hold a referendum and let them decide.

    Pakistan Zindabad.

  51. M.AKRAM KHAN NIAZI says:
    May 18th, 2010 8:50 am

    “Dirty Thar Coal Versus Environment Friendly Kalabagh Dam in Pakistan
    & South Asia”.

    • It is very strange to note that present Government of Pakistan is advocating for Air Polluting Thar Coal Project Versus Environmental Friendly Kalabagh Dam.

    • Kalabagh dam which will increase the water resources of the country is being opposed while Thar coal project, which will consume huge amount of water and will contaminate all water, air and land resources of Pakistan is being advocated by the government.

    • Clean electricity produced by Kalabagh dam will be available to every citizen of the country while Thar coal project will pollute all water, air and land resources of not only of Pakistan but also of neighbouring countries like India and China.

    • Thar coal will effect each and every living organism while environment friendly Kalabagh will not only store water for the cultivation of land , but also will produce clean energy without carbon emmision, by that electricity it will be possible to pump out under ground water which will also increase water resources and will store water for cultivation of land, Kalabagh Dam will increase wet land for fisheries, will increase green land which will be helpful in decreasing environmental carbon dioxide produce by coal and other fuels and will control flooding and erosion of land and will save lives and lands of people.

    • Coal is one of the most polluting sources of energy available, jeopardizing our health and our environment. While Kalabagh Dam will have multiple advantages and will act as clean electricity power house, Sweet water reservoir and floods controller all these things will improve fertility of lands, will reduce poverty and will increase food production.

    The Effects of Coal on the Environment.
    Coal as a source of energy is probably the most environmentally damaging of
    all the traditional sources of energy.
    • One must keep in mind that a typical power coal plant generates 3 million tons of CO2 or 17 tons of carbon per megawatt and draws about 2.3 billion gallons of water per annum from nearby source while on land coal produces mercury which not only renders water useless for human consumption but also for irrigation purpose as well.

    • “Coal Power in a Warming World” by Barbara Freese et al, published by the Union of Concerned Scientists in October 2008 states that “The underground mining of coal is a dangerous profession, and underground and surface mining are both highly damaging to landscapes, water supplies, and ecosystems”.

    • The Natural Resources Defense Council paper entitled “Coal in a Changing Climate”, issued in February 2007 claims that “Coal mining—and particularly surface or strip mining—poses one of the most significant threats to terrestrial habitats in the United States.”

    • Figures from “Key World Energy Statistics: 2008″ show that coal is responsible for 42% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

    • “Coal in a Changing Climate” shows that coal produces large amounts of airborne toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrous oxides, arsenic and lead.

    • Coal is a highly polluting energy source. It emits much more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and natural gas. CO2 represents the major portion of greenhouse gases. It is, therefore, one of the leading contributors to climate change.

    • From mine to sky, from extraction to combustion — coal pollutes every step of the way. The huge environmental and social costs associated with coal usage make it an expensive option for developing countries.

    • Coal mining is responsible for acid drainage from coal mines, polluting rivers and streams, to the release of mercury and other toxins when it is burned, as well as climate-destroying gases and fine particulates that wreak havoc on human health, COAL is unquestionably, a DIRTY BUSINESS.

    South Asia.

    On one side China and India are planning to curb the Carbon emission by curbing the use of oil, coal and other fossil fuels, and Bangladesh and Maldives are crying for taking measures against rise of seas due to global warming and melting of glaciers and on other side Government of Pakistan is planning to use Thar coal which will not only cause global warming but also pollute the whole environment of South Asia but in fact will endanger the life of 3 Billion peoples living in China, India, Kashmir, Northern areas, NWFP, PUNJAB and Sindh, as the direction of smoke and dangerous gases will be from east to north west of Pakistan. And people of these areas will suffer from respiratory diseases such as Asthma, Bronchitis, Cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and people of these areas will suffer from dangers and adverse effects of smoking without smoking the cigarettes.

    Government of Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned for sinking delta dwellers people of Bangladesh and Island dweller people of Maldives under sea by wasting about 10 Million Acres feet water of River Indus from the catchments area of whole of Pakistan in the sea and is not preserving and storing that water in dams like Kalabagh and Basha, on one side people of Pakistan are suffering from acute wastage of water and electricity and on other side Government is wasting sweet water in the sea which is not only causing sea rise and erosion of coastal land for whole of subcontinent, including Bangladesh and Maldives but is also harmful for saline habitat fishes and saline and sea plants like Mangroves

    Countering Rise in Sea level and Global Warming.

    Global Warming:
    For countering global warming there is need to completely restrict use of coal for any purpose and to minimize other fossils fuels such as oil and gas and use of alternatives resources such as wind, solar and water power by means of dams like Kalabagh and Basha Dams in Pakistan should be encouraged and preferred.

    Rise in Sea Level.
    For countering rise in sea level following measures should be taken to save and to protect from submerging the people of Bangladesh, Maldives and other Island dwellers under sea.

    • All the rain and glaciers water on land should be preserved and stored in reservoirs and dams like Kalabagh and other dams for use on land( For Agriculture, Electricity generation and human consumption) and other purposes so that no water should waste in sea which will ultimately cause the rise in sea level.
    • In Coastal areas use of sea water should be increased as much as possible for Industrial and agricultural purposes.

    • After desalination and Purification Sea water should be use for human consumption as much as possible.

    • Wastage of sweet water and fertile silt in sea should be prevented and should be used for fertilization and irrigation of land and other useful purposes.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as exploration of silt and stones from sea towards land and coastal areas.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as exploration of sea salts for use as chemicals and other purposes.

    • There should be maximum utilization of sea resources such as sea plants such as algae and fishes to decrease the volume of sea so that rise in sea could be countered by each and every mean available.

    Already Polluted Atmosphere of South Asia.

    South Asia is already suffering from the adverse effects of Brown cloud(Accumulation of Dirty gases in upper atmosphere of Subcontinent and is having negative effects on the health of population of India and Pakistan , Moreover there is already shortage of Ozone gas in the upper atmosphere of South Asia, due to which people of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ) are not having perfect healthy bodies as compared to other races of the world, .In view of such a bad condition of atmosphere burning the coal is just like to throw the people of Pakistan into valley of death, where as there already so many poor workers are daily dying in the coal mines of Balouchistan, but no one is having any care about those poor workers.

    There are a number of adverse environmental effects of coal mining and burning, especially the glaciers of the Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan contribute significantly to the stream flow of the Indus Basin. More significantly, during the dry season these glaciers become the system’s only source. Impacts due to climate change on these glaciers have been studied in recent decades and vivid fluctuation of water flow in the Indus River Basin System has been reported.
    Conclusion:
    Due to flow of toxic gases and smoke from Thar Coal towards North and Western Pakistan, It is the responsibility of Jammu and Kashmir, Northern Areas, NWFP, Punjab and Sindh Governments to review the adverse effects of Thar coal as it is the matter of life and death of the people of these areas. As unhealthy environment due to smoke and toxic gases will destroy the beauty of land of Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan and will cause health problems such as cancer, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory and genetic diseases due to environmental pollution in the people of Punjab, NWFP, Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan. Thar coal will destroy the fertility of land and will pollute the water resources of the country.

    It is the responsibility of Governments of China ,India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Kashmir and Provinces of Pakistan to persuade Federal government of Pakistan not to use Dirty coal while many dams may be constructed for generation of clean energy in Pakistan like Kalabagh and Basha Dam, it is necessary as government of Pakistan is wasting its only Indus River sweet water( 10 Million Acres Feet Water )in the sea while on the other side common people of Pakistan are suffering from the thirst and hunger due to shortage of water and electricity.
    Written By:M.AKRAM KHAN NIAZI.
    Karachi, Pakistan.

    Email:akrumniazi@hotmail.com

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