Gilgit-Baltistan: Diamer-Bhasha Dam (DBD)

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Rawalpindi (Observer): The acceptance of Pakistan’s claim that the Indian Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project (KHEP) would obstruct the flow of water of Neelum River in Pakistan-administered Kashmir by International Court of Arbitration (ICA) has not been digested by the Indian water strategists. The ground-breaking ceremony of Diamer-Bhasha dam in the Northern Areas provided an ideal opportunity to settle their score.

The reason for objecting Diamer-Bhasha dam is her stale argument that project is located in disputed territory and can cause floods in Indian-held Kashmir. This has made the International lenders a bit apprehensive in arranging funds necessary for the project. India’s propaganda regarding ceding of the Gilgit-Baltistan Region to China, is a devious ploy to politically implant US against Pakistan so as to derail the dam building project.

This politically-driven defence by Indian water authorities is totally unjust because Pakistan has slipped into a category of country the United Nations defines as “water scarce”. With the population rapidly expanding, water is running out very quickly. Estimates suggest that while Pakistan has only achieved 11% storage capacity, India on its allocated eastern rivers has accomplished 52%.

Indian external strike against Pakistan is not restricted to just objecting the project rather it has an all-round and all encompassing strategy to destabilize Pakistan. India is also exploiting boundary dispute between Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa vis-à-vis royalty issue. This caused a delay of almost four years. However, the issue of royalty earned from the hydroelectric power generation at the dam between the two provinces has been resolved. Likewise, the issue of resettlement of 28,650 affected people has been settled. For Pakistan, the Diamer-Bhasha dam is the lifeline for its tottering economy.

The outfit may not be panaceas for all the economic woos, but it could be a very critical link in Pakistan’s energy and water requirements. Therefore, Pakistan needs to push the World Bank to adhere to its own policies and not be influenced by Indian hectoring or complaints.


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