Kalabagh Dam verdict: Lawyer says legal points ignored

The former vice-president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Barrister Baachaa on Friday stated that the Lahore High Court had ignored several legal points while delivering a judgment in favour of Kalabagh Dam. In a press statement issued here, Barrister Baachaa said the petition decided by the LHC was not maintainable as the three provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan were not made party to it. He stated that the three provinces were necessary parties to the controversy of Kalabagh Dam and deciding that controversial issue without hearing them was unjust. He added that while the LHC mentioned a controversial decision of the Council of Common Interest of 1991 in support of the dam it altogether ignored the resolutions passed by the provincial assemblies of the three provinces. Barrister Baachaa pointed out that under the constitution deciding the controversy of Kalabagh Dam was not in the powers of the high court and in fact the LHC had overstepped its constitutional jurisdiction given in article 199 of the Constitution. He stated that the arguments mentioned by the LHC in support of construction of the dam were based on assumptions primarily attached with the interest of Punjab. He added the controversial project was aimed at irrigating the barren lands of Punjab. He regretted that while the court referred to production of electricity it ignored to mention the importance of Basha Dam in this regard. The senior advocate stated that the LHC had referred to article 154 of the Constitution and ordered the government to implement the decision of CCI, whereas under sub-article 7 of the said article the three provinces had the right to bring the issue to the parliament and unless the parliament endorsed the decision of CCI it could not be implemented.

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