Diamer Bhasha: Boundary dispute threatens to stall key dam project

Published: December 28, 2013
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The ownership of the land stretched over eight kilometres is disputed between the people of Diamer and Kohistan. PHOTO: FILE

The ownership of the land stretched over eight kilometres is disputed between the people of Diamer and Kohistan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

As a pre-emptive measure, the federal government will soon deploy security forces along the disputed territory of the Diamer Bhasha dam site. The ownership of the land stretched over eight kilometres is disputed between the people of Diamer and Kohistan.

Officials from the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan told The Express Tribune that a letter has been written to the interior ministry asking the federal government to deploy forces in the disputed territory to avoid any clashes between the two parties.

Dispute between the two parties had worsened in the past month after the people of Kohistan blocked the Karakorum Highway for days warning to march toward Diamer claiming the dam site.

A source in the ministry of water and power stated that this boundary dispute between Khyber-Pakhtunkwa and G-B might lead to a delay in the construction of the mega dam.

“The dispute will make it difficult for the government to formally start working on the construction of the dam without settling the boundary dispute between the two parties,” said a senior official of WAPDA.  In a high-level ministerial meeting, held at the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan (KAGB), it was decided that security forces will be deployed along the disputed boundaries.

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The ministers — Chaudhry Barjis Tahir, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister  for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Pirzada, Information Minister Pervez Rashid, federal secretary KAGA, chief secretaries of GB and K-P— also decided that a neutral commission should be constituted to resolve the matter.

The issue arose after the government announced compensations for the families affected by the construction of the dam.

Following the announcement, people from Kohistan claimed that the area upstream up till the Basari check post near Chilas, fell under Kohistan’s jurisdiction. On the other hand, locals of the Diamer district maintained that the area downstream up to Harban belonged to them.

Interestingly, the disputed area is part of an unsettled territory without proper revenue records. However, historically, the disputed territory has administratively remained under the control of the G-B administration and its forces have been deployed at the Basari check post for many decades.

The government later deployed security forces on both the Basari and Harban check posts to deal with any untoward situation. The final decision on the issue will be made by the proposed commission.

Both the sides reject each other’s claims over the area, where the powerhouse of the dam is likely to be constructed.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Lala Gee
    Dec 28, 2013 - 1:12PM

    Anti-Pakistan elements within GB are the reason for this issue, Pakistan soldiers must secure the area and the GB elements dealt with.

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  • Dec 28, 2013 - 2:07PM

    @Lala Gee: Why one in GB. I think in KPK also.

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  • Shabbir
    Dec 28, 2013 - 3:21PM

    The main problem is that Pakistan still not recognized GB people as Pakistani and GB as par of Pakistan. All Pakistani Govt always say that GB is disputed area while in ground this is totally lie. India never claimed this GB area is part of India but unfortunately Pakistani Govts always try to hatred among people of GB. Whenever world ask where is K-2 mountain, Pakistni Govt pridely saylway that “ofcourse in Pakistan” When world ask that where is other big Mountains, pakistan says “ofcourse in Pakistan”. Recently NS govt announced the motorway and railway track from Pakistan to China via GB territory. but when GB people ask where is our basic right , Pakistani Govt always say you are disputed area, sorry we can’t give you rights. When people ask where why we dont have vote right since 1947, always replied that you GB area are disputed area. people of Pakistan will surprises that stil GB people don’t have any representative in Parliament and NA, dont contest election with other Pakistani part, dont have any budget , don’t member of NFC. while GB brave people are more patriotic than other part of country.
    So guys the same DAM issue , DAM is going to construct on the GB territory but KPK want the the benefit in terms of royalty. Why GB people dont have right on this DAM royalty while people of GB effected due to this DAM and many people displaced. This is whole story. GB people dont have right because they are most peaceful people and they dont have guns in hand. but guys I must say here that now the youths are seriously thinking that why we dont have rights since 67 years…. when youth will keep gun in hand than you can imagine…

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  • Afaq Khan
    Dec 28, 2013 - 4:20PM

    This is another attempt by KP to exploit the people of GB. If it was not enough that a systematic looting of GB resourcesn has been going on for the last 60 years by predominantly pakhtoon bureaucracy, now they are attempting to steal the very land from GB s peopleRecommend

  • polpot
    Dec 28, 2013 - 5:38PM

    “Diamer Bhasha: Boundary dispute threatens to stall key dam project”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    And I jumped to the conclusion that Indo Pak boundary was the issue.
    ( Actually it is !)

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Dec 28, 2013 - 7:42PM

    We in India still having vacant seat for POK in Indian Parliament . Our Kashmiri people are electing representatives for Delhi and they have equal voting right .

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  • Truth
    Dec 28, 2013 - 7:49PM

    Some Facts:

    KPK does not want Kalabagh dam to be built, now creating problems for Diamer dam. Actually issues of territory claim is initiated by ANP government, e.g ANP claimed for entire Shandur area effected annual Polo tournament, now another blow to national project.
    KPK government want more share in royalty out of dam to earn perks, as most of land is scarificed by people of Chilas GB, Kohistanis are actually provoked by KPK government. poor Kohistanis don’t know, in realty its the issue of royalty….If someone has paid attention to recent statement of ANP leader Zahid Khan, who categorically said that, GB will not get a single penny as royalty because its constitutionally not part of Pakistan, meaning KPK is entirely deserving one. Unfortunately ANP and PPP is colluding to mess up this all. previous government both were in alliance and needed each others support. PPP sind based party is equally resisting Kalabagh, so one can see, their benifit is how much they can earn at the cost of national cause.According to constitutional reference KPK leadership believe the elcetric grid is going to be install at their side, so they deserve the royalty, a question needs to rethink for Lawmakers* Is constitution a word of God or word of ordinary man? if there is any exploitation created by constitution, should be fixed, and amended….
    Finally, Pakistan knows GB is deliberately made a dispute territory despite its historical identity separate from Kashmir, though the last arrangements under Bristish rule was considered and its entire history was ignored. anyways, Pakistan’s decision to install electric grid on KPK boundry is to stay on safe side, in case of India disputing over construction of mega projects without its consent.

    After all this is politics, Poor Balochs and people of GB going to suffer for their resources…..

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  • LunacyAsailam
    Dec 28, 2013 - 8:39PM

    This is Indian territory , Indian government should propose joint administration and supply of electricity for this damn in contention.Those lands are still called the Hindu Kush I think.So, India should demand some administrative control to allow electricity flow for our needy peoples.

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  • GBian
    Dec 29, 2013 - 1:34AM

    GB is not a part of Pakistan according to its constitution 1971. So forget the dreams of constructing a dam, now turn your head on constructing KALABAGH Dam.

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  • polpot
    Dec 29, 2013 - 2:55AM

    India should be invited as a Partner for this Mega Project
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Will solve the financing challenge and ensure rapid realisation.
    If the Punjab Govt can collaborate with India in the power sector why
    not the rest of Pakistan?
    We only have to get rid of our pre concieved notions.

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  • osm
    Dec 29, 2013 - 9:14AM

    The site belongs to the people of GB. KP is a bigger and influential province but it shouldn’t be allowed to be unfair to the much poorer GB. KP had their chance to earn royalties through Kalabagh dam. Bhasha doesn’t fall in KP. They are just agitating to get a piece of the royalty action.

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  • Sihat Khan
    Dec 30, 2013 - 3:34PM

    KPK has occupied the land of GB in Bhasha and Shandur top. The UN and international community should take notice and interfere in the matter to help GB secure its land resources.

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