ISLAMABAD: The main opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has expressed its concern over what it called re-launching of the campaign in support of the construction of the controversial Kalabagh dam by the PML-N government, warning that the move could bring disastrous consequences for the federation.
Talking to Dawn here on Saturday, PPP’s Parliamentary Leader in the Senate Saeed Ghani alleged that the government was intentionally touching the controversial matters in an effort to divert the attention of the nation from the real issues, including the Panama Papers scandal.
The PPP senator alleged that the present Wapda chairman had been writing columns in newspapers in support of the dam perhaps after getting a green signal from the rulers.
Mr Ghani recalled that the provincial assemblies of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had adopted resolutions against the construction of the proposed Kalabagh dam on a number of occasions.
“Is he [Wapda chairman] a representative of those having a particular thinking on the issue or a representative of the whole country?” he asked.
Mr Ghani asked the federal government to take action against the Wapda chairman, saying “a government employee should not be allowed to reject the resolutions passed by three provinces”.
When contacted, PML-N Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq rejected the allegation that the government was intentionally raising the sensitive matters to divert the attention of the people from the real issues.
“The Kalabagh dam issue has nothing to do with the leaked Panama Papers,” he said.
Mr Haq said the PML-N had a principled stance on the issue that the dam could not be and should not be built without a national consensus.
When asked about the Wapda chairman’s act of writing columns, Mr Haq said that people and experts in the field of energy and water were writing on their own in support of the dam. He said there were many people in the country who believed that had the Kalabagh dam been constructed, the country would not have been facing the present energy crisis.
Meanwhile, five PPP MNAs on Saturday submitted an adjournment motion to the National Assembly secretariat regarding the recent alleged statements and columns written by the Wapda chairman in support of the construction of the controversial dam.
“Three provincial assemblies have already passed resolutions against the construction of the Kalabagh dam. Publication of such statements/articles by the Wapda chairman will open a Pandora’s box,” says the motion, adding that “the Wapda chairman’s attempt is not only beyond his mandate but it is also leaving an adverse impact and challenging the unity of the federation”.
The motion has been submitted by former water and power minister Naveed Qamar, Shazia Mari, Nafisa Shah, Ijaz Jakhrani and Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah.
Talking to Dawn, Naveed Qamar said that the Wapda chairman being a government functionary was required to take a neutral position on the issues, particularly on the controversial matters.
“He [the Wapda chairman] can’t take the position of a political party,” he added.
Saeed Ghani had also raised the matter of the Wapda chairman’s act of writing columns in newspapers.
Another PML-N senator, Ghaus Mohammad Niazi, had defended the Wapda chairman for writing columns and endorsed Mr Majeed’s viewpoint of initiating a debate on the issue of the Kalabagh dam.