Red, White and Black

A no to Kalabagh and to the Opposition too
19 January, 2006, 12:01 am
Filed under: Pakistan, Politics

Musharraf has decided to defer the controversial Kalabagh Dam till the country is able to the achieve a consensus on the issue. He said that he respected public opinion and thus will not push it for the time being. His speech from last night was quite concilliatroy in nature:

Gen Musharraf said there were “misperceptions and reservations? about KBD, particularly in the NWFP and Sindh, where people were not supportive of the project. “I respect this public opinion,? he said, but resolved to remove the reservations of the people of Sindh and the NWFP about KBD.Gen Musharraf hoped that with the announcement that the government will be building Basha Dam first, normalcy would return to the country and those creating unrest on the issue of major water reservoirs would be silenced.

It also highlighted the fact that he is treading a very tight rope and has realised that he has to give in at some point. But I hope he also he realises that the way to “change the opinion of the Sindhis” is not through coercion but by helping rebuild the confidence between the estranged provinces and the also between the center and the provinces. The only way to do this is to involve the locals in any feasibility and analysis studies that are carried out on the Kalabagh dam. Transparency should be introduced to prevent this from becoming political boilpot. But still I think Musharraf has read the situation well this time around.

This gesture will help bring back some sense of normalcy to the National affairs, but only if the opposition is a willing player too. So far thiss has been judged as a ‘retreat’ for Musharraf. The MMA chief went to the extent of declaring:

Kalabagh dam has proved another Kargil for the General.

The opposition here will never learn. National affairs, to them are just another avenue where brownie points can be scored. They don’t realise that they have a responsible role to play in building national consensus. Given this attitude it is little wonder that consensus has always remained elusive to Pakistani politics. In our little world, it’s opposition for the sake of opposition. If the opposition was as wise and as knowing as they claim to be, they would have taken the opportunity to unite the nation under this decision. They would have declared the opposition’s support to the two new dams and looked to normalise the state of affairs.

But no, that does not happen in our little world.


1 Comment so far
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like the previous dams, this dam will also bring further scarcity of water in the downstream. Those who support me please sign this online petition.

Comment by Waqar

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