Diamer-Bhasha dam: A postcolonial project which remains ignored in Pakistani media

We have previously posted several articles on LUBP highlighting the plight of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan including the violation of their rights through the proposed Diamer-Bhasha Dam project.

We note with concern that two innocent persons were killed yesterday by police while protesting for their rights in Chilas. We express our solidarity towards the cause of our brothers and sisters in Gilgit Baltistan.

Two killed as police fire at protesters in Chilas
Friday February 19, 2010

DIAMER: Two persons were killed and four others injured when police opened fire at a protest rally of Diamer-Bhasha Dam affectees at the district headquarters Chilas on Thursday.

The affectees staged a demonstration for the fulfilment of their demands regarding land compensation and their rehabilitation. Hundreds of enraged protesters turned violent when they reached near the hostel of Wapda officials working on the dam project and attacked the hostel, which led to a clash between the protesters and the police.

The deceased were identified as Fida Malook and Sabir Rehman, while the injured included Naseeb, Jhanga, Ghaffar and Abu Zar. The injured and the bodies were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital, Chilas, while the situation got tense in the area.

The enraged protesters blocked the Karakuram Highway (KKH), which disconnected the northern areas from the rest of the country, and set ablaze several government installations and private vehicles, buildings and shops.

The affectees had been demanding compensation for their lands acquired for the dam, as recommended by the committee constituted for that purpose. They said they had surrendered their lands for the welfare of the country, but the government was not paying any heed to their problems.

They demanded of the authorities to arrest the police personnel involved in the killing of two protesters and injuring four others. Meanwhile, the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan on Thursday ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident of killing of two activists of the Diamer Action Committee (DAC) in Chilas and the inquiry committee would be headed by a judge of the High Court.

Speaking at a press conference here, Syed Mehdi Shah immediately suspended the administrative officials concerned, including the SP, AC and Tehsildar of Diamer for sheer negligence. “The issue would soon be resolved amicably after holding consultations with the members of the action committee after my visit tomorrow,” he said.

In the National Assembly of Pakistan
Earlier, responding to point of order raised by MQM’s Haider Abbas Rizvi, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo said the government has constituted a committee to determine the compensation for those displaced by the construction of the Diamir-Bhasha Dam. Speaking on a point of order Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that state land in Cholistan was being allotted to non-locals adding that this would further deprive the locals of their rights. He also criticized the government for allotting land to Arab princes, who, he said, had financed religious terrorism. He demanded that Cholistan be declared a district and the state land be allotted only to locals.

Yet, another ‘assurance’ of the PPP’s government
Diamer Bhasha Dam project affectees’ demands to be accepted: Kaira
ISLAMABAD, Feb 18 (APP): Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira Thursday assured the affectees of Diamer Bhasha Dam project that all their genuine compensation demands would be accepted by the government.The Minister said this while talking to APP here after the unfortunate incident resulting in death of two persons and injuries to as many people during a protest at Chilas. The Governor Gilgit-Baltistan ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident and assured the people that strict action would be taken against the persons responsible for the incident.

Kaira said that the government realizes the genuine concerns of the people of the area and their genuine demands would be entertained. He said that all matters need to be resolved through dialogue. The people-friendly government of PPP and allied parties understands the concerns of the people affected from the project and would ensure proper compensation to them, he added.

The Governor said that Diamer-Bhasha Dam is a mega project of great national and local importance and upon completion would benefit the country as well as the area. He said the project would lead to creation of jobs and auxiliary business opportunities for the people of the area leading to their socio-economic development.

BBC Urdu’s report

گلگت بلتستان کے علاقے چلاس میں جمعرات کے روز دیامر بھاشا ڈیم کے ممکنہ متاثرین کے مظاہرے پر پولیس کی مبینہ فائرنگ کے نتیجے میں دو مظاہرین ہلاک جبکہ چار زخمی ہوگئے ہیں۔

دیامر بھاشا ڈیم کے ممکنہ متاثرین کے رہنما عطااللہ کا کہنا ہے کہ وہ پانی و بجلی کے ادارے واپڈا کے ہاسٹل کے سامنے اپنے مطالبات کے حق میں پر امن احتجاج کر رہے تھے کہ پولیس نے ان پر فائرنگ کی۔ اس کے نتیجے میں انہوں نے کہا کہ دو مظاہرین موقع پر ہی ہلاک جبکہ چار زخمی ہوگئے۔

دیامر بھاشا ڈیم کے ممکنہ متاثرین کے کئی مطالبات میں سے ایک بڑا مطالبہ یہ ہے کہ پاکستان کے پانی و بجلی کے ادارے واپڈا ، گلگت بلتستان کی حکومت اور ان کے درمیان جو معاوضے کی رقم طے ہوئی تھی اس کے مطابق ان کو ادائیگی کی جائے۔

ان کا کہنا ہے کہ اگر ایسا نہیں کیا جاتا ہے تو پھر اس پابندی کو ختم کیا جائے جس کے تحت مقامی لوگوں کو چار برسوں سے تعمیرات کرنے سے روکا گیا ہے۔

ان کا کہنا ہے کہ اس کی وجہ سے مقامی لوگوں کی معاشی اور سماجی زندگی متاثر ہورہی ہے۔

مسلم لیگ کی رکن پارلیمنٹ ماروی میمن نے کہا کہ پرامن مظاہرین پر پولیس کی فائرنگ قابل تشویش اور قابل مذمت ہے۔

انہوں نے کہا ان لوگوں کو خلاف کارروائی کی جانی چاہیے جو اس کے ذمہ دار پائے جائیں گے۔

جمعرات کے روز مظاہرین کے خلاف پولیس ایکشن کے بعد دیامر میں شدید رد عمل پایا جاتا ہے۔

گلگت بلتستان حکومت میں سابق مشیر اور رکن اسمبلی عبدالقدوس خان نے کہا کہ ہمیں کمزور سمجھ کر گولیاں برسائی جارہی ہیں لہذا ہم اپنے علاقے میں ڈیم بنانے کی اجازت نہیں دیں گے۔

عبدالقدوس چلاس کے رہنے والے ہیں اور ان کا تعلق مسلم لیگ ق سے ہے۔

انہوں نے کہا کہ پاکستان کو ڈیم کی ضرورت ہے اور وہ کالا باغ ڈیم بنائے اور یہ کہ پاکستان اپنے لوگوں کو بچانے کے لئے ہمارے علاقے میں ڈیم تعمیر کررہا ہے۔



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