Jan 11, 2006

Sindh: Statement Claims No Kalabagh Dam

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain said on Monday that President General Pervez Musharraf has assured him that the Kalabagh Dam will not be built

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has said that President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz promised to give up the construction of Kalabagh Dam in a detailed telephone conversation with him.

The two have also promised that any injustice against innocent Balochis would be investigated and punished, Hussain said.

“Yesterday, I talked in detail with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on the telephone for one hour and 40 minutes, during which I convinced them not to go ahead with Kalabagh Dam. They promised me that Kalabagh Dam will not be built,” said Altaf while addressing general worker meetings in several districts of the province on Monday night.

He repeatedly called the government’s assurance “a historic achievement” of his party and thanked Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz and the president’s aide Tariq Aziz for showing flexibility. The exiled MQM chief also repeatedly congratulated the people of Sindh, particularly Sindhis. He assured them that his party would continue struggling for the rights of Sindh and, soon or later, would be compensated for “all past injustices against Sindh”.

“Sindh has now started regaining its rights with this historical achievement. By the grace of the Almighty, Muttahida has resolved this 30-40-year-old issue that even so-called big political parties could not resolve,” the MQM chief said.

He rejected as “anti-MQM propaganda” statements that the party’s warning to quit the governing coalition did not contain the issue of Kalabagh Dam. He said that the warning had been issued on account of Kalabagh Dam and the Balochistan situation.

Hussain said that he discussed Balochistan in detail with the president and prime minister. He said that Musharraf assured him that there would be no military operation, and that any injustice reported against innocent Balochis will be investigated.

Hussain said that the president told him that he will soon announce a Rs 2 billion development package for Balochistan.

The MQM chief said that his party will quit the coalition without informing the federal government if the people of Balochistan were mistreated in the future.

He said that he also discussed provincial autonomy with Musharraf, and the latter assured him that the parliamentary committee tasked for the devolution of power to provinces will be directed to expedite its work.

Hussain said that Musharraf also promised to meet a five-member MQM delegation which will apprise the president of Sindh’s problems.

Source: Daily Times