Heated debate on Kalabagh dam in Sindh Assembly, as treasury, opposition trade allegations

Karachi: Four resolutions were tabled in Sindh Assembly here on Thursday on the issue of Kalabagh Dam; however, treasury and opposition members traded allegation, accusing one another of giving covert support to the project and befooling general public with loud rhetoric.

Nusrat Bano Seher Abbasi of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), Khalid Ahmed of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Sikander Ali Mandhro and Imran Zafar Laghari of Pakistan Peoples’ Party-Parliamentarian (PPP-P) tabled the resolutions, terming the issue and dead horse and a bid to disrupt unity of the nation.

Nusrat Bano Seher Abbasi said Sindhi people were against the controversial project. She said it was a dead issue and its revival was aimed at create confusion in the minds of people. She also condemned the federal ministry of water and power for its failure to properly defend the case in Lahore High Court, asking why the PPP-P government failed to provide the court facts about the project. She asked where the PPP-P led government was when the petition was filed in Lahore High Court. She also criticized federal minister for information Qamaruz Zaman Kaira for his statement that consensus could be developed amongst the provinces on the issue of Kalabagh Dam. She said there is even no need of consensus in this regard. She alleged that PPP-P leaders are issuing different statements on the dam matter in Sindh and Punjab province, adding now people could be befooled. She said President Asif Ali Zardari should come to Sindh Assembly and declare that in future no assembly would raise this issue again. She advised the PPP-P that instead of hollow talk they should take practical steps.

Sikander Ali Mandhro said that three provincial assemblies have already rejected the dam project and this house once against strongly condemns it. He said the project is not acceptable to the people of Sindh and a mammoth rally at Kamoon Shaheed led by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto has already buried it.

Imran Zafar Laghari said the project is against the unity of Pakistan. He said three provinces have already given their verdict on this issue and all the efforts to give a new life to this dead horse are highly condemnable. He said in past the dictator and their allies had used this project. He said the dam if made would convert Sindh into a Somalia. He alleged that Punjab Chief Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif was responsible for raising the dam issue and divide the people of Pakistan.

Khalid Ahmed said the MQM for the day one has rejected the project. He said the dam is not accepted to people of Sindh at any cost. He said there is one voice in whole Sindh province on this project and all political parties of the province had rejected it. He said in whole world democratic norms are strengthening but here political forces are being divided on this issue. He termed the dam project to an irreparable vehicle, saying now it is high time to push this vehicle any more as it would never start.

Rafique Engineer in his strong-pitched address criticized the opposition parties in Sindh assembly, saying these people in past had support the dam project to please the dictator but now they were opposing it to hoodwink the people of Sindh.

Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, Pir Mazharul Haq, Mir Nadir Magsi and Rana Abdul Sattar also spoke.

Later, the speaker adjourned the house till Friday, December 7, 2012.

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