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Kalabagh Dam debate exposes divisions within PPP MNAs

23 February, 2010

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ISLAMABAD: The issue of Kalabagh Dam once again created a division in the rank and file of the PPP in the National Assembly on Monday when one of its members Nadeem Afzal Gondal raised his voice in support of it while another legislator from NWFP Noor Alam warned that if it was constructed then all the members from the NWFP would resign from the House.

The issue started minutes before the adjournment of session on Monday when on a point of order, Nadeem Afzal Gondal said that the dam was put in cold storage at a time when the country was facing acute water shortage.

He suggested formation of a technical committee for reviewing the pros and cons for the construction of the dam and give a report on purely technical basis. He also criticised the Punjab government for registering cases against the PPP workers under MPO 16 and described it as a first political case.

However, another PPP legislator from NWFP Noor Alam on a point of order raised his voice against Kalabagh Dam and said that if it was constructed, the agricultural lands of Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera districts would become barren. “If this controversial dam is constructed then we all members from the NWFP would resign from the Parliament,” he warned.

Meanwhile, during the debate on water issue, presiding chairman Nawab Yousuf Talpur expunged the remarks of the PPP legislator from Sindh Gul Muhammad Jhakrani against Punjab on water issue.

Senior PPP leader and Minister for Labour and Manpower Syed Khursheed Shah requested the chair to expunge the remarks.

The PML-N legislator Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, who was core commander Quetta and former Governor Balochistan during Musharraf regime, described the government’s initiative of Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan as a joke with the people of the province. “The governor and chief minister of Balochistan also described this package as a joke with the people of Balochistan,” he added.

He said that even the Balochistan chief minister had shown his helplessness on the issue of kidnappings, saying that there was a parallel government in the province. “The federal government should tell who is running parallel government in Balochistan,” he added.

He said in the majority of Baloch area, people are avoiding singing the national anthem as well as whenever a provincial minister visits these areas they avoid their flagged cars.

He also raised the issue of depriving the people of Bugti tribe from possession of their properties, saying that there were reports that Aali Bugti was illegally taking over the land of other Bugtis.

Earlier, Minister for Human Rights Syed Mumtaz Aalam Gilani informed the House that the government would soon introduce a legislation to check child abuse.

Responding to a call attention notice by Nawab Abdul Ghani Talpur and others, he said workshops were held in Rahimyar Khan, Nawabshah, Multan and Haripur during the last one year to create necessary awareness about the issue.

The minister regretted that the provinces were not cooperating in checking child abuse. He pointed out that thousands of cases were referred to Punjab and Sindh governments but they responded only in a few cases.

Replying to another call attention notice by Bijrees Tahir and others, Minister for Industries Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani said subsidised sugar at utility stores was being misused by small businesses and the condition of producing national identity card was imposed to check the tendency.


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