HYDERABAD: Senior lawyers at the Hyderabad District Bar Association (HDBA) on Thursday objected to the construction of Kalabagh Dam and naturalisation of foreigners in Sindh. The association passed a resolution against the two propositions while warning of political and legal opposition.
“The Indus River belongs to Sindh,” contended Advocate Shabbir Shar, member of Pakistan Bar Council. “Without permission of Sindhis no dam can be built on the Indus.” He objected to proposals to construct Kalabagh dam.
Shar maintained that Sindh had already been suffering from a shortage of water due to the reduced flow in the river. He added that the sea is continuously eating up thousands of acres of land in coastal districts as the river water discharge below Kotri Barrage in Jamshoro remained dismally low.
“Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts have lost precious land to the sea and thousands of people have been deprived of their livelihoods,” Shar said, adding that the redundancy has forced the dwellers of three districts to migrate to other places for their survival.
Shar also warned of the implications of giving nationality to alien citizens.
“The state is engaged in dangerous conspiracies against Sindh,” alleged former Advocate General Sindh, Muhammad Yousuf Laghari. He argued that by controlling Sindh’s water resources the upper riparian province wanted to make Sindh’s economy its hostage.
Laghari said that the construction of Kalabagh Dam would violate international laws and the resolutions passed against the dam by the provincial assemblies of Sindh, K-P and Balochistan. “But we won’t let this happen,” he claimed.
Laghari also said that since independence, Sindh had been saddled with the burden of accommodating refugees. He believed that a conspiracy was still on the table to turn native Sindhis into a minority in their own motherland. “The undeclared operation against Sindh’s political workers, the enforced disappearances and the killings are part of this design,” he maintained.
Another former advocate general Sindh, Nisar Durrani, said that the state was foisting its inimical decisions on Sindh. “Indus is lifeline for Sindh. We don’t accept any dam on it,” he said.
Commenting on the proposed naturalisation, Durrani said that Sindh has been turned into an international orphanage. He said, “The government should rather take up the task of repatriating the foreigners to their countries of origin.” He vowed that the legal community would stand as a bulwark against any design considered harmful for the people of the province.
President of HDBA Advocate Imdad Unar said that no law barred the people of Sindh from expressing their opinion in favour of or against any project. The lawyers announced that a committee comprising senior lawyers will be formed to lead the protests and movements against the two proposals. Lawyers at the event expressed their views and a token protest also took place.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2018.