Kalabagh Dam - A Pivotal Need for Pakistan?

Assumptions and the realm of what-ifs when come together result in horrific consequences. Pakistan is a nation ruled on this notion. Take the masses who deal their domestic issues on the same idea and if we go up to the levels of the bureaucracy, a series of what-ifs hover the minds of each and every individual.

Just as the what-if mindset rules the population, another aspect which hovers over the nation as a whole is the failure to unite- we fail to band together, be it on religious festivals of Eid. Similarly, the strings of all the provinces and the ethos of each cannot be pulled together on issues beneficial to each province respectively.

In the current scenario the majority of the citizenry is glued to their idiot boxes waiting for the emergence of a 'Naya' Pakistan. A Pakistan with the same mindset, are we really anticipating a Naya Pakistan or fooling and making a mock of ourselves on every stage available on planet Earth?

While the sit-in continues, the deluge advances with its destruction right from the north of the country to the areas lying in the south, wiping out villages, killing people, damaging crops and property.

After living and firmly believing in the what-if world, another facet of the society is to slate the government- history speaks of past uprisings, the present day scenario needs no explanation and the future will hold similar accounts.

The floods of today were not unprecedented. Yes, it is the wrath of Mother Nature, but can it be blamed? Since this option is ruled out, who is to be targeted? The government again, only this time it is the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh who get to be in the limelight.

Kalabagh Dam (KBD) has been a controversial topic since former President Pervez Musharraf announced its construction in 2004. If this dam was in form today, the electricity shortage the country faces could have been addressed. In times of flood such as the current one, the water could have been stored in this dam to be used in times of dry seasons.

With about 800,000 acres of cultivable land, the KBD would help irrigate the land of KP which in turn would alleviate poverty by letting residents of KP to cultivate the fertile land, grow crops and earn profits.

Each year, India releases water once the water levels in Jhelum and Chenab reach dangerous levels.

With this continuous act, the populace in Pakistan repeatedly detests this move. Is blaming India for releasing water simply enough? Or is it the decisions that fail to be implemented just because the KP and Sindh province have their fears that rule out this particular dam to be built.

Nations who fail to learn from history have to journey a gloomy tunnel that has an opening at a far, much far distance.

Had the KBD been constructed, the ever increasing demand for electricity would have been met even if not completely, the 3600 MW addition in the national grid would have made a massive difference. Had the KBD been constructed the destruction caused by the ongoing flash floods been minimized. Was the destruction of the 2010 flooding not enough for the provincial governments to keep their differences aside and settle on the unanimous decision for the betterment of the entire nation? Maybe that is too much to ask for.

Despite the Punjab government which is in full support to initiate the construction of the dam, major impediments have surfaced time and again.

Awami National Party (ANP), the former ruling body of KP put forward grave concerns which KP would face if the KBD plan materializes.

The Sindh and KP provincial governments each has its own bag of fear against Punjab, the province where the hydroelectric dam has to be built (if there is ever a consensus) in the Mianwali district.

Only if the discrepancies are kept aside and the general good of the people of the nation be focused upon, then only can the Kalabagh Dam be erected which can effectively put to rest a great number of problems faced by the citizens of Pakistan. But for all this to be put into effect, the 'what-if' ideology has to be sidelined.