Social media hype for building Kalabagh Dam

People considering the project elixir which was abandoned for want of national consensus


APP June 23, 2018
Kalabagh Dam. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The social media drive to build Kalabagh Dam on war footing gained momentum as water crisis largely looming over the country.

The social media campaigners are calling it a last resort to avert future water crisis of the country, have initiated a vigorous campaign to build controversial Kalabagh Dam at all cost.

The project of Kalabagh Dam was abandoned because there was no national consensus on its construction. The former chief minister of Punjab has recently stated that the dam could be built only when a national consensus was reached among the four provinces.

The campaign's aggressive and emotional tone even suggests sacrificing a few lives of those who come in the way of this national cause.

"Act now before it is too late" and "vote for sale price is Kalabagh Dam" are popular slogans attracting youth, contributing emotional sharing to prove their nationalism and patriotism.

The drive has also invoked debate in which pros and cons of building Kalabagh Dam is being discussed technically and emotionally. The campaign even includes an opinion survey for or against the cause to involve more public interest. A message reads as titled, "An appeal for the sake of Pakistan, potential locations where dams can be built and given in state's custody because it is matter of Pakistan's survival. And those opposing this cause should be punished under treason law in military courts. Give your answer in Yes or No".

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The move also seems to develop consensus and suggests to shunning differences based on provincialism, ethnicity and political affiliation for "One Nation One Pakistan."

Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter accounts are major components to reach maximum number of people to build a case containing factual information to sensitize them about this dam's importance.

The attention of targeted readership is solicited through a message that the dam's completion would help irrigate the country's around 170,000 acres of land in both Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

In addition, some 3,600-megawatt cheap hydel electricity can be added to the national grid just costing almost two rupees per unit which would save four billion dollars annually on account of power generation.

A compelling message urging the citizens to make dam's construction as a priority task for vote seeker against the demand of vote stated: "Vote for sale, price is Kalabagh Dam."

A message sharing a national daily's story depicting "Pakistan may have no water by 2025" and forcing the folks to make Kalabagh Dam as the top trend on social sites stated "we are in Red zone, now or never, please bring it on trending. We really need it."

The campaign did not restrict itself to an ordinary man but also manage to get the attention of celebrities as one of Pakistan's political commentator Zaid Hamid tweeted "Campaign of Kalabagh Dam has hurt the Indians so much that FB (facebook) is deleting accounts and blocking users who are promoting KBD (Kalabagh dam). "Just as FB does, when you try to expose Indian crimes in Kashmir. Entire Indian lobby in Pak and on SM (social media) is in the panic over our demand for KBD."

Usman Nawaz Proya Advocate was of the view that the country is on the verge of collapse due to water scarcity. "Climate change, deforestation and water shortage are the national issues that cannot be ignored" Usman added.

He appealed the voters to beware of a person to whom they would cast vote should have the ability to articulate such issues on the floor of National Assembly.

He urged the masses not to let down their voices this time so it could be heard for the convenience of the public at large.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2018.

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