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November 9, 2018

CJP Saqib Nisar did a favour to KP by setting up dam funds, says ex-judge


November 9, 2018

PESHAWAR: Supporting construction of the controversial Kalabagh Dam, former chief justice of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Syed Usman Ali Shah said Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had done a favour to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by setting up fund for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Munda dams.

Talking to The News here, the 93-year old retired judge said the fund would help expedite construction of the two dams and in particular benefit the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, more so those in Charsadda district, Mohmand tribal district and Kohistan.

Usman Ali Shah, who also served as federal ombudsman, urged the people to donate funds for the construction of the two dams to overcome the energy crisis. The previous governments ignored the construction of dams in the past, he observed.

He apprehended that Bhasha and Munda dams would not be able to fulfill requirements of the rapidly growing population and more dams would be needed. He asked those opposing the construction of Kalabagh dam to tell the nation as to how it was detrimental to the country.

Usman Ali Shah, who also served as a judge of the Supreme Court, said the construction of Mohmand Dam would irrigate all the barren land around Mohmand and Charsadda districts. He recalled that the construction of Warsak Dam had brought prosperity in the Khalil and Mohmand areas. Usman Ali Shah, who was a member of the Indus Water Apportionment Commission in the then NWFP in 1986-87, said that all the three members including Abdul Hai Qureshi from Sindh, Zakaullah Lodhi from Balochistan and retired Brigadier Ghazanfar from Punjab had presented the case of their respective provinces excellently but all the three members from the then NWFP were neither prepared nor could highlight their case.

In his dissenting note, he said he insisted that the people of his province had the first right over Indus river water. He said the then Chairman Wapda, Lt Gen (r) Safdar Butt had objected to this and it led to provincialism.

"The same is the case even today," he remarked. The rulers and concerned authorities, he observed, could neither utilise their water nor could chalk out a plan to use after signing the accord.

He recalled that flood hit the province in 1929 and again in 2010, which inundated Nowshera and its adjacent areas. He claimed the construction of new dams would control floods and benefit the people. Without naming anyone, he maintained that some politicians were hurling threats and abusing national institutions without caring for national interest.

Usman Ali Shah did not agree when reminded that the construction of Kalabagh Dam would inundate fertile land in Nowshera, Mardan, Charsadda and Swabi. He posed a counter question as to how it would destroy land when the water would be stored at two sites at the upper level.

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