Vision for 2025: Sindh opposes plan to set up nuclear power plants

Published: January 5, 2014
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Ahsan Iqbal addressing Provincial Consultative Workshop on Vision for 2025. PHOTO: PID

Ahsan Iqbal addressing Provincial Consultative Workshop on Vision for 2025. PHOTO: PID

KARACHI: 

The Sindh government has vehemently opposed the federal government’s plan to establish two nuclear power plants on the outskirts of Karachi, citing fears of environmental degradation and the risks associated with nuclear technology.

“We demand this project be scrapped. Not just Karachi, it can put the whole country at risk,” said the chief minister, as the representatives of the Sindh government took a stand against the plan during the ‘long-term development vision 2025’ meeting at the Sindh Secretariat on Saturday.

The consultative meeting was chaired by the Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and was attended by the federal secretary for planning and development, Hasan Nawaz Tarar, Sindh chief secretary, Sajid Saleem Hotiyana, finance advisor to CM, Syed Murad Ali Shah, all administrative secretaries of the provincial government as well as the heads of private and semi-government organisations.

The meeting, which was convened to obtain Sindh’s input for the ‘vision’ turned into a fierce round of allegations and counter-allegations between the federal and provincial government. The Pakistan Peoples Party’s ministers, as well as the bureaucrats of the provincial government, decried the federal government’s attitude for not according due autonomy to the province. “What kind of provincial autonomy are you talking about? Even after the 18th Amendment, the provincial government has no right over its natural resources. Around 70 per cent of the oil and gas fields in the country are located in Sindh but the decisions to award the contracts for drilling of these fields are made by Islamabad,” said Murad Ali Shah.

Diverting the federal minister’s attention towards the issue of tax collection, Murad Ali Shah said, “The federal government is still interfering with our constitutional right of collecting the tax on services. You have devised a provision for building mega-dams in Vision 2025 even after stiff resistance put up by Sindh and other three provinces. These are anti-people projects and should be excluded from the long-term plan.”

The provincial lawmakers stressed the need to open the Pak-India border linking the Sindh and Rajasthan provinces.  “Shahbaz Sharif is conducting trade meetings with his counterpart in the adjoining state of India but our chief minister does not even know who the chief minister of our neighbouring state in India is,” lamented Nazar Muhammad Mahar, a former additional chief secretary for planning and development.

For his part, Ahsan Iqbal repeatedly assured the Sindh government that their grievances would be addressed. In his remarks, he revealed that vision 2025 incorporated seven main factors. These included energy security, self reliance in growth-rate, development of human resources, social development, value addition in production units, modernisation and regional connectivity of infrastructure, promotion of small and medium enterprises and democratic governance of institution reforms.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (56)

  • just_someone
    Jan 5, 2014 - 2:21AM

    LOL, just LOL at the PPP. When they were sitting in government, they had no problems with Islamabad taking decisions now all of a sudden they want to take a stand on provisional autonomy. PPP is so pathetic!

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  • Jan 5, 2014 - 4:00AM

    For long term and low cost clean energy set up many “solar farms” all across Sindh. Now that the cost of solar panels is way down the payback or ROI is great. Another big way to create huge amount of energy is to change as many as possible incandescent and energy saver lights into LED lights. Energy saved is exactly same as energy made. Savings will be generally 50% to as high as 95%.

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  • Aam Aadami
    Jan 5, 2014 - 4:05AM

    Yup install those plants in Punjab

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 5, 2014 - 4:06AM

    They don’t want Kalabagh Dam, they don’t want Nuclear Plants but they want cheap and unintrrupted power supply 24/7. Their heads must be examined.

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  • sabi
    Jan 5, 2014 - 4:24AM

    Why would ppp allow pmln to carry the flag of modern progressive Pakistan.First kalabagh and now nuclear plant.Why don’t government move nuclear plant site on Baluchistan coasts somewhere in wilderness.

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  • Jibran
    Jan 5, 2014 - 4:42AM

    Why not close to Lahore? Or GHQ in Rawalpindi?

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  • kala_bacha
    Jan 5, 2014 - 5:22AM

    These so called minister, secretaries and PPP Kay jiyalay really knows how people of sindh and all Pakistan is suffering from power crisis. If you proposed the plan somewhere near there goat, there will be sweet distributions in the neighborhood right now.

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  • ppp
    Jan 5, 2014 - 7:23AM

    Since their ouster from federal govt, PPP is deprived of entities whom they looted blindly, as a reason now they demand control of them to carry their mission.

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  • Ali
    Jan 5, 2014 - 7:39AM

    Political differences aside, a very sane opposition by Sindh government. Karachi, a city with 20 million population which is also located on several fault lines, this is the least a Sindh government can do. Lets not get emotional here.

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  • Zack
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:20AM

    On motorway they also object, it was benificial to all now.

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  • Swig
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:37AM

    Pakistan only stores 8 percent of its river flows against a world average of 50 percent (India 40 percent) the attitude of Sindh towards large dams would not only turn Sindh into a desert but the whole country will be turned to a desert.

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  • Major Iqbal
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:48AM

    To be honest, I very much doubt Pakistan will survive until 2025.

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  • Alia
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:48AM

    Such hypocracy. The 1973 constitution was given to us by a Sindhi and now they don’t like it.

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  • Jan 5, 2014 - 10:01AM

    The Sindh CM is right. Look what happened to Eight Mile Island (USA), Chernobyl (Ukraine) and in Fukushima (Japan). Recently, in his article the noted physicist / nuclear scientist, Dr. Parvez Hoodbhoy, gave very cogent and pointed reasons for NOT building nuclear plants at Karachi’s beaches. The Americans are not giving any news on Eight Mile Island, trumpeting on Chernobyl, and making muted references on Fukushima. Salams

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  • Assad Gondal
    Jan 5, 2014 - 10:01AM

    @just_someone: wrong. QAIM ALI SHAH fought for the increase in share in the NFC award. Not only this, he even fought with Zardari to collect tax on services something thr federal government refuses in the case of sindh only.

    Speaking as an independent observer.

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  • Harry
    Jan 5, 2014 - 10:40AM

    Idiots, just a bunch of idiots. I lost all my faith in Pakistan.

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  • erum
    Jan 5, 2014 - 11:20AM

    “Environmental degradation and risks associated with nuclear technology” Seriously? If the developed nations pondered so much over erecting nuclear power plants to meet the energy needs,they would not be where they are now. And our policy makers opposing projects which are useful in the long run.Recommend

  • yasir
    Jan 5, 2014 - 11:21AM

    First stopped kalabagh dam and now this.

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  • resilient
    Jan 5, 2014 - 12:21PM

    Nawaz should undoubtedly shift these projects to Raiwand or somewhere in Punjab.

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  • abdullah
    Jan 5, 2014 - 12:23PM

    @just_someone: Because this new govt in Islamabad is proposing anti Sindh development which last PPP govt in Islamabad didn’t proposed these are new development. ask anyone from karachi do they want nuclear plant in Karachi (proposed location are so close that God frobid in case of breakout millions of people will get affected).Its okay for PMLN to shout “Punjab Punjab” when in opposition but it is bad when PPP do that.Objection raised are reasonable and should be addressed.PPP is representing Sindh so they have protect its interest too.

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  • just_someone
    Jan 5, 2014 - 12:45PM

    @sabi:
    its not that easy. Plants require a ton of infrastructure. Think power lines, think transformers, think grid stations, think roads to bring raw material, etc etc.
    It would be very expensive to set it up anywhere. In Karachi, there is already a plant working for last 40ish years. It is an ideal site since there is plenty of land and the infrastructure already exists there.Recommend

  • Hatim
    Jan 5, 2014 - 12:54PM

    They’re planning for the next election. They don’t want PML to gain any ground here. Environment degradation? Have they seen the streets of Karachi? Thousands of tons of rubbish are burned every day causing massive health repercussions.

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  • Hatim
    Jan 5, 2014 - 12:58PM

    Wasn’t Zulfiqar Bhutto who built the first nuclear plant in Karachi? The PPP is still proud of that. They don’t oppose nuclear power. They only oppose any progress under PML’s watch.

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  • abid
    Jan 5, 2014 - 12:58PM

    they don’t want dams to be build , they don’t want nuclear plants to be build, they brag about thar coal but since 30 years they have not produced even 1 mw of electricty, they dont want Pia , Pak steel mills to be privatized which is engulfing billions of rupees in losses, they dont want to pay tax, they don’t want to pay electricity dues but want electricity 24*7. After 5 years of plundering Pakistan economically , they still want to loot Pakistan and have a free hand with no check and balances. This can happen only in Pakistan because a government who has a majority in Parliament are still listening to these crooks which have made Pakistan an equivalent of Bangladesh in economic terms in just 5 years.

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  • wahab
    Jan 5, 2014 - 12:58PM

    People in Punjab would have no problems shifting these projects here but then these people will cry that all resources are spent in Punjab. A 90 year old CM can make such ridiculous demands. Whole world has nuclear plants, many in Europe. We need electricity and this is our best bet

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  • Pakistani
    Jan 5, 2014 - 1:04PM

    i hope nuclear power plants would no be build as it can put the whole city at risk of disaster…more over these types of plants have never been build any where in the world(the type china is building),and neither are they cheap..we should for alternative sources for power such as dam,wind,coal and solar.there many other dams that can be built other than kalabagh dam.

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  • sameer
    Jan 5, 2014 - 1:50PM

    @wahab: do shift these plants to punjab and also GADDANI/HUB coal power plant also..
    dont try to pollute our air..
    we karachi dont want these plants

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  • Mobeen
    Jan 5, 2014 - 1:57PM

    There are certain economic advantages in setting up nuclear power plants and using nuclear energy in place of conventional energy.The emission of greenhouse gases has reduced to near half due to the popularity in the use of nuclear power. Nuclear energy by far has the lowest impact on the environment since it does not release any gases like carbon dioxide, methane, which are largely responsible for the greenhouse effect. There is no adverse effect on water, land or any habitats.Unlike renewable sources of energy like solar and wind that require sun or wind to produce electricity, nuclear energy can be produced from nuclear power plants even in rough weather conditions. They can produce power 24/7 and need to be shut down only for maintenance purposes.

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  • Mobeen
    Jan 5, 2014 - 1:58PM

    There are certain economic advantages in setting up nuclear power plants and using nuclear energy in place of conventional energy. It can be one of the major sources of electricity throughout the nation and is in continuous supply. It is widely available, has huge reserves and expected to last for another 100 years while coal, oil and natural gas are limited and are expected to be depleted soon.

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  • Khurram
    Jan 5, 2014 - 2:18PM

    @Major Iqbal:
    i wonder what ET moderators are doing…they are very vigilant in blocking anti-india comments but they allow ur anti-pakistan comments every time..

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  • waseem
    Jan 5, 2014 - 2:31PM

    @Khurram:
    Dear,
    we never asked which Army he had been major?

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  • Caresless Whispers
    Jan 5, 2014 - 3:09PM

    @Major Iqbal:
    Nothing new coming outta ur mouth, the same was said by many since August 14, 1947 :)

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  • Random Passerby
    Jan 5, 2014 - 3:11PM

    @Jibran: Nuclear plants are built near a body of water as the reactor requires a coolant to prevent overheating. The location of the new plant is ideal because not only it is near the sea but also because the new plants will be replacing the existing nuclear power plant which means that the necessary infrastructure is already in place.

    The only cause of concern is that they are trying out a new design (which is based on an existing design). If adequate safety measures are taken and validated by IAEA then I do not see why this plant should not be built.

    We do need nuclear energy, and right now China is the only country in the world who is willing to provide us with the necessary capital and technical expertise. If China can send a rover to the moon, they are also quite capable of building a safe nuclear power plant.

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  • papi
    Jan 5, 2014 - 3:28PM

    PPP, its being built in Karachi, not Sindh. Karachites want it. you don’t matter.

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  • Maham
    Jan 5, 2014 - 3:51PM

    @Major Iqbal:
    we are not surprised by ur irresponsible statementsRecommend

  • Abdul Hameed
    Jan 5, 2014 - 5:10PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    No, Choudhry saheb, you are exhibiting the same insensitivity as west Pakistanis showed before 1971. They do not want Kalabagh, They do not want nuclear plants. Yet they do not need any examination of their heads. They produce 70% of the country’s hydrocarbon.

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  • Zeenia
    Jan 5, 2014 - 5:24PM

    Currently Pakistan is passing through energy shortfall. despite of all the possible measures now our government has diverted its attention towards building up of nuclear power plants for the generation of energy and to make the people of Country and specifically people of Karachi suffice of energy. As Karachi is the hub of international trade and most of economic activities are done by this city. So constructing power plants in Karachi would be beneficial for the whole country and also will help Pakistan in restoring its economic loss. As long as the safety of environment is concerned then it is a well proven fact that nuclear power plants are being operated by considering the present circumstances of that place and also by the approval of IAEA. Sindh government must show sense of cooperation with the government of Pakistan rather appreciate the step taken by the government.

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  • Jan 5, 2014 - 6:34PM

    Why are we not exploring wind and solar energy which have enough potential in Pakistan as per world wide trend and they are cheap as well. But it seems our planners forever want to indulge in controversies and trying to shift blame on others.
    And yes a big no no to nuclear and coal fired plants near Karachi.

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  • omair shahid
    Jan 5, 2014 - 7:11PM

    @Major Iqbal:
    dear sir keep this stupid doubt to yourself pakistan is here to stay inshallah and there is no doubt about that.

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  • Ahsan Ahmad
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:50PM

    Mili Bhagat…federal govt did not have funds for the project and US would also see it with certain misgivings. An easy way out for PML(N) was to tell PPP to raise hue and cry over the provincial rights. There is no sanity in the claim that Karachi and Pakistan would be threatened by a Nuclear plant which has already been existing since 40 years. They want to fool us because we are fools.I have no faith left in these rascal politicians.

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  • Rumail
    Jan 5, 2014 - 11:18PM

    @ those saying “yeah, build them in Punjab,” nuclear plants require vast amount of water for cooling purposes, how on Earth would you bring the sea to Punjab. Initiate hydropower and nincompoops go like “why not solar and wind,” go for alternate sources and they’d be like “why not hydro.”
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  • Sindhi Sufi
    Jan 6, 2014 - 8:28AM

    I thought this 800years old Stupa of Moenjodaro is out of his mind as much as of body.. but first time ever he’s made a good decision of resisting futile nuke energy.. btw this is with China’s help and Kashmir, KPK and Punjab are much closer to China geographically, then y to install them extreme south of pakistan (karachi)…
    Heads off Shah Sahab

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  • Humayun
    Jan 6, 2014 - 9:51AM

    What is the Vision 2025 ?

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  • Aadesh
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:11PM

    Energy resources are imperative for the economic growth of any country. In this sense, the generation of nuclear electricity through all sources – especially nuclear – is one of the finest ways to support a country’s energy security. Pakistan is in a dire need for electric energy because crippling energy crisis in the country is a larger threat than the war on terror. One of the best energy supply options is nuclear energy, which is the cleanest source of energy. Sindh government is only playing politics… such a shame

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  • Sadia
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:14PM

    The Karachi plant will be Pakistan’s largest nuclear power project, with a production capacity of 2,200 megawatts. Despite international constraints, the nuclear energy program in the country is progressing slowly but steadily. Pakistan has the potential to generate power by a variety of means, but rather than devote in new industries to develop energy sources that would be economical to work in nuclear sector that has the expertise and experience. Pakistan can face international constraints but this type of ironical behaviour by our politician will not help the cause.

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  • Usman
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:39PM

    It makes me wonder what kind of security parameters they are asking for. Do they really no how a nuclear power plants work and also before setting up a nuclear power what procedures one needs to follow? They are the one who are playing for their self-interested lust and they are the ones due to which Pakistan is being hijacked by such energy crisis. The nuclear plant that is being setting up by the help of China is under the guidelines of IAEA and one must not have any doubt on that. AP1000 is a proven, safe, plentiful and clean source of power generation, and Westinghouse Electric Company, the pioneer and global leader in nuclear plant design and construction, is ready with the AP1000 pressurized water reactor (PWR). It is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The AP1000, based on the proven performance of Westinghouse-designed PWRs, is an advanced 1154 MWe nuclear power plant that uses the forces of nature and simplicity of design to enhance plant safety and operations and reduce construction costs.

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  • Aaila
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:42PM

    It seems to be a political rift between the provincial and federal governments nothing else. This should be accepted that all the options have been opted and failed to curb the energy shortfall in the country. The only workable option which is left is to go for nuclear energy. The government took this decision with vigilant consultations with national and of course Chinese experts. Nuclear is not a mere toy full medium to play with. It is an extreme serious thing to be considered as the whole humanity is on risk. But countries are widely going in the direction of nuclear energy in order to meet the energy challenges. This is an appreciable work which can play a strong role the economic development of country.

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  • enu
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:42PM

    i agree. no to nuclear energy

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  • yasir
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:27PM

    Interesting, I have seen massive protest against government in sindh due to power-cuts. If government is serious to curb energy issues then why to make hurdles? And i am sure Sindh province will get maximum benefits from nuclear power plants. Recommend

  • Aazar Kund
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:47PM

    Nuclear power plants are safe and secure. These nuclear plants are friendly to the environment. Besides they have been installed in the area cleared after surveys and through researches. Energy crisis has not only affected the entire economy but also the Industrial hub has been suffering since decade. Its the time to eradicate power shortage to bring city of lights back. Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)
    Jan 6, 2014 - 7:15PM

    @Pervaiz Lodhie:

    Sir I am sorry to tell you but your Return of Investment calculation are completely wrong. The most expensive energy source to date is Solar Power , Petrol Generators and Wind energy.
    I dont care wht Wikipedia says!!!
    Working as a Research Engineer in Germany in Energy sector.. I can assure you tht Nuclear is the cheapest Energy source…thts another debate regarding its hazards..The only hope Pakistan has is to construct dams….Btw the Government in “Western world” also do not give the accurate figures regarding wind and solar energy prices…..the reason being is simple the governments in western world are subsidizing the rates from Solar and Wind, through tax money, so that more R&D can be done and a hybrid system can be established…which is a very good idea. .In Pakistan as well Government give heavy subsidiary to industries to install solar panels..but in the long run the current technology is limited and cannot become a backbone of a country with such a vast area….
    ..Regards..!!!!

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  • Hani Sindhi
    Jan 6, 2014 - 7:56PM

    @Pervaiz Lodhie:
    Do you have any idea how expensive solar energy is not to forget the extremely high investment it requires which even the worlds most developed countries cant invest in???

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  • Last Word
    Jan 6, 2014 - 9:56PM

    @Major Iqbal: To be honest, I very much doubt Pakistan will survive till 2025.

    Major, I sincerely hope that your apprehensions do not come true but the amount of chaos, sectarianism, militancy and mis-management which the country is going through presently, this might become a reality.

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  • Last Word
    Jan 6, 2014 - 10:29PM

    @Aazar Kund: Nuclear plants are safe and secure.

    Not a factual statement after many lives were lost due to leakages in these plants in Russia and Japan and until militancy is completely eliminated in Pakistan as militants would target them without thinking of the grave consequences.

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  • Sidra
    Jan 6, 2014 - 11:15PM

    All political parties should agree on the same page as nuclear technology is safe, affordable and the future. According to environmental scientists it is less hazardous, it revolutionized the science fields. Different varieties of crops on a large scale can be developed, medical science has developed cure for many deceases, proper sensible use of this technology that is power generation authorized by the current government can light the whole Karachi.

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  • someone
    Jan 7, 2014 - 5:18AM

    If Sindh has so many apprehensions then why not built it in Balochistan? Balchistan is close to sea shore too. This will also give employment opportunities to local Baloch youth too which may help them get away from sedition activities. Also this may open new industrial revolution in Balochistan. However if federal government is having myopic “Punjab” vision because building a plant in Sindh would make it easy to supply electricity to Industries in Punjab, then I think this project would be doomed as Kalabagh Dam.

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