AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: A senior leader of Awami National Party (ANP), Afrasiyab Khattak, criticized the Chairman of Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan for supporting controversial Kalabagh Dam and said that Punjab under the pretext of building the dam wants to gain control over the Indus River.
While speaking to media, Imran Khan recently said that Pakistan could be steered out of energy crisis, if Kalabagh Dam was built.
While talking to Mashaal Radio, Khattak said that Imran Khan doesn’t want to rule only Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as he is eying to rule over entire Pakistan. “Thus, for him it is important to please Punjab. However, Punjab already has a nationalist leader— Nawaz Sharaf. Now, by raising this issue Imran Khan is trying to tell voters in Punjab that he is more loyal to their interests than Nawaz Sharif,” he added.
He said that Kalabagh Dam is a 40-year long dispute and the issue was raised during the rule of military dictator Gen. Zia-ul-Haq. “The project was opposed by the entire Pashtun nation. Even, General Fazel Haq, who was an important person during Zia-ul-Haq’s military rule, also opposed the scheme, because he was a Pashtun and he knew that the project will drown Peshawar,” he added.
He stressed the Punjab by constructing the dam wants to ‘occupy’ Indus River which is known as Abaseen (father of the rivers). He said that despite people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, those living in Sindh and Baluchistan are also against construction of the dam. He said that assemblies of three of the four provinces of Pakistan have passed resolution against the scheme in the past.
“To overcome the challenge of energy crisis, Pakistan should focus on building different other dams instead of sticking to the controversial scheme,” he advised.
It is worth mentioning that Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, another senior member of the party, on Wednesday came hard on Imran Khan’s statement and said that Kalabagh Dam was a “dead issue” and that no one could dare to build it until ANP was there.
He said the Imran Khan should either apologize for his statement or accept his challenge for a live television debate on the issue.
Bilour said Imran Khan’s support for Kalabagh Dam was a message to Pakhtuns that he had no sympathies for them and that he wanted to please the people of Punjab only.
“Now, it is up to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to decide whether they will continue supporting PTI or change their opinion,” he said.