Mrs. Machiavelli & the Political Dam

by Khurshid Anwer

Nation, Mar 18, page 14: Speaking at a seminar on Water Issues, Ghulam Mustafa Khar has repeated most of what he had said in an interview to the Jang newspaper back in April 1997.

Prime minister Benazir Bhutto had expressed her willingness to construct Kalabagh dam and had directed all the chief ministers to build consensus for taking up the project.

The prime minister in the presence of the coalition partners had acknowledged the importance of Kalabagh dam, saying it was a ‘must’ for the progress of the country.

She used to get furious whenever I made statements in favour of Kalabagh dam, but later she gathered reports from other independent sources which convinced her that it was in the crucial interest of the country.


In the presence of all the chief ministers, including Abdullah Shah, Aftab Sherpao, Zulfikar Magsi, Arif Nikai, Naseer Ullah Babar and Hamid Nasir Chatha, she said that I was right in supporting to build the dam.

Naseer Ullah Babar said that she had herself directed them to opposes Kalabagh dam, so how could he now mould the opinion of the masses in favour of the dam.

She explained that she had asked them to oppose the dam when Zia-ul-Haq had raised the issue and she could not support the dictator who had killed her father. But now fresh reports about the project had convinced her and the chief ministers should start preparing the ground for it.

(revenge was more important to her than national interest)

When Naseer Ullah Babar still opposed it she said all those who would oppose the dam would be against the interest of the country”.

Ghulam Mustafa Khar concluded:

We have no other source of water and must utilize the water of Indus river by building Kalabagh dam otherwise there will be skeletons from Khyber to Karachi”.

Let me dispel the notion that Kalabagh dam was vital for Punjab only, it is equally beneficial for Sindh”.


Kalabagh dam is more important than Kashmir or the nuclear bomb, we can use the bomb only if we are still alive.

Since 1997 I must have quoted Khar in my letters more than fifty times without getting any rebuttal from Benazir’s legal eagles. Now that khar has gone public again let the people named above confirm or deny what he has said.

Of course as soon as she was out of power she started opposing the dam again because then it became Nawaz’s dam.

The evil that people do lingers on, the good is often interred with their bones.

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