LHC orders govt to construct Kalabagh dam
Court directs government to fulfil its responsibilities under Article 154 as CCI had twice approved project’s construction
Says fate of project should not be sealed on the basis of presumptions
Lahore (Thursday, November 29, 2012) – Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday ordered the federal government to construct Kalabagh Dam.
The CJ directed the government to fulfil its responsibilities under Article 154 of the constitution as the Council of Common Interest (CCI) had twice approved construction of the dam.
The LHC chief justice while disposing of a number of petitions held, “In the circumstances and for detailed reasons to follow, the federal government is directed that in the performance of its duty under Article 154 of the constitution, it shall in letter and spirit take steps that implement the decisions of the CCI dated 16.09.1991 and 09.05.1998 regarding Kalabagh dam. Bona fide steps by the federal government in the foregoing behalf are necessary so that the fate of the project is not sealed on the basis of presumptions and surmises when in the light of the material on record the project is admittedly feasible both technically and economically. It is therefore directed that whilst implementing the afore-noted CCI decisions the Federal government shall faithfully strive to explore and devise an administrative framework and safeguards that allay the apprehensions, political or otherwise nurtured by concerned quarters about the Kalabagh dam project. The foregoing steps shall be taken expeditiously by the Federal government with a resolve to comply the provisions of Article 154 of the constitution by effectuating the will of the CCI as expressed or by seeking further guidance and direction there from if need arises.”
The CJ earlier had called the record of the meeting minutes of the CCI about construction of KBD.
In reply, a senior joint secretary (CCI) of the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination on Thursday informed that two decisions by the CCI regarding the Kalabagh Dam project. The first was of September 16, 1991 when express approval for construction of Kalabagh Dam multipurpose project was given.
Later on May 9, 1998 the CCI re-visited the project when the Natural Water Resources Development Programme (NWRDP) headed by the Ministry of Water and Power was directed to prepare for detractors a document explaining the issues involved in the construction of Kalabagh dam and addressing political and technical concerns about it. It was also directed that supplementary projects in support of the Kalabagh Dam be prepared to mitigate its effect.
The chief Justice remarked neither the said decisions nor the project had thereafter received much attention of the federal government.
The petitioners’ counsel said that a technical study undertaken in 2004 by representatives of all four Provinces has endorsed and approved the feasibility of Kalabagh dam.
Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Siddique, advocate Feroze Shah Gilani and others had filed the petitions for construction of the dam.
The petitioners’ counsel requested to issue direction to parliament or CCI for construction of KBD.