Judging from today’s dailies, you CJ, Mr. Saquib Nisar, have publicly threatened all those who criticize your espoused projects of dams because, in your view, they have “an agenda” and that you will personally ensure they are punished. Well Sir, I have an agenda; the interest of my country. I am sure yours is the same. However, if yours wants to build it, mine wants to oppose it. So, if I am to face your wrath, so be it.

Throughout history those opposed to the views of the all-powerful elite have suffered. Most of the sufferers have suffered at the hands of bigots and obscurants. Since you do not number among bigots and obscurants, I will hope for justice at your hands, despite your threats.

Technically knowledgeable people who oppose the Diamer-Bhasha Dam do so because the site is located on a fault-line; a highly seismic zone, which makes it unsafe. Among the disadvantages of such a zone is that it is also prone to frequent rock/mud slides; like the one of enormous mud that has resulted in the unplanned lake at Ataabad. Furthermore, in an attempt to make it more economically viable, its height has been increased from 600 feet to 908 feet and, instead of conventionally compacted concrete, roller compacted concrete will be used. So far, no roller compacted dam has been constructed at over 600 feet.

As far as the last issue stated above is concerned, perhaps technology has progressed farther than we know; and roller compacted concrete could now withstand greater water pressure than ever before. But you may wish to confirm that. You may also like to confirm that, the dam is not being built in a highly seismic zone which, apart from earthquakes, could also be threatened by rockslides; and our knowledge is in error. Or, that technology is now available to prevent seismic activity and rockslides in the zone. If your life saving dam turns into a life taking disaster, you will be pretty embarrassed. Then, Sir, kindly reassure us as well.

I could suggest some alternatives too.

The Ataabad Lake has come into being through natural disaster, it could be made use of as a smaller dam. The Indus runs in that region, alternating between relatively wider streams and high narrow gorges. Wherever it runs through narrow gorges, it is a high, raging torrent, particularly during summers. It can therefore support several run of the river projects like Ghazi Brotha, at far less cost. Such projects could provide as much, if not more electricity during summers. And, since in winters, less electricity is consumed, at least domestically, it might still suffice. In any event, between Ataabad and the gorges, enough electricity could be generated at a tithe of the cost.

And so, Milord, I beg you to consider my words well before serving notice to a poor unlettered soldier who could not find it in him, to refuse to pick up a stray gauntlet he came across in the dailies today, September 13 2018. My respects, Milord.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *