Oct 08, 2010

Sindh: A Pointless Resolution


Punjab Assembly ‘detached from reality’ in pursing aim to build ecological destructive dam opposed by other provinces.


Below is an article published by Dawn:


IT is like flogging a dead horse. On Tuesday, the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution asking the federal government to develop consensus among the federating units for building the Kalabagh dam at the “earliest”. The Punjab lawmakers should know that there is little chance of the Kalabagh dam being built. If they are unaware of this aspect of Pakistan’s politics of hydrology, it is time they registered it and reconciled themselves to it. The dam’s rejection by the other provinces is categorical, with three provincial assemblies and politicians of all hues joining hands to form a united front to meet the perceived threat to their share of the Indus waters, besides having ecological concerns. Even the money needed for building a reservoir of that proportion is not likely to be available because foreign donors have made it clear they are not going to fund a politically controversial project. That the Punjab Assembly still believes the construction of the dam is possible shows how detached it is from reality. More mind-boggling was the PPP’s support for the resolution. The motion was passed unanimously because no PPP member was present at the time. Yet, extraordinary as it sounds, it had the blessings of the PPP’s parliamentary leader, who said he saw in the resolution nothing that went against his party’s policies.

The resolution is a commentary on the political acumen of the two leading political parties. The country is groaning under the weight of problems ranging from whopping inflation and the gigantic task of post-flood reconstruction to the state of war in which the nation finds itself because of the Taliban insurgency. A new addition to Pakistan’s problems is the crisis that has developed in relations with the US and Nato following the menacing rise in the number of drone attacks and the violation of Pakistan’s territory by Nato-Isaf helicopters. The gravity of the situation demands national unity and a mobilisation of the people’s energies to pull Pakistan away from the brink. Instead, the assembly of the country’s most populous province wastes its time in passing a resolution that adds to the nation’s misery instead of mitigating it.

From the PML-N’s own point of view, the resolution couldn’t be more counter-productive, for instead of creating space for itself in the three other provinces, the PML-N resolution has handed the nationalist parties a new opportunity for Punjab-bashing. In Sindh especially we can expect a new round of protests and rallies against a project which, despite being dead, will come in handy as a rallying point for all nationalists, thanks to Tuesday’s pointless resolution.