Volume 21 Issue 7 July 2017
By Engineer Barkat Ali

During a visit to Washington in 1963, President Muhammad Ayub Khan impressed upon the World Bank the need for a Development Plan beyond Tarbela Dam. The WB set up the ‘Indus Special Study’ under international experts of repute. After three years, they produced a report titled ‘Development of Water and Power Resources of West Pakistan.’
It was made clear that if Pakistan wanted to maintain its pace of progress, it must have a third large dam by 1992 and the preliminary engineering work on the dam must begin in 1977.

By S.G. Jilanee

Pakistan seems to be all about two dreams. One is annexing Kashmir; the other, building the Kalabagh Dam. The former remains mired in conflict with a neighbouring country. The latter is stymied by domestic controversy.
Donkey’s years ago, in a study carried out under the Ayub Khan government.

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the 'Genesis Awards' video.


Syed Jawaid Iqbal

Zeba Jawaid

Javed Ansari

Faizan Usmani
Hafiz Inam
Mahrukh Farooq

S. G. Jilanee

Sanghmitra S Acharya
Dr. Moonis Ahmar
Engineer Barkat Ali
Khawaja Amer
Mirza Aqeel Baig
Huzaima Bukhari
S. M. Hali
Dr. Ikramul Haq
S.G. Jilanee
Dr. Raza Khan
Saleem Khan
Taha Kehar
Dr. Syed Ali Madni
K. A. Naqshbandi
Samina Wahid
Hujjatullah Zia

Kamran Ghulam Nabi
Haroon Rasheed
Riaz Masih

Aqam-ud-Din Khan

Syed Ovais Akhtar
Hira Sarwar

Shehryar Zulfiqar

Danish Shahid

SouthAsia is published every month by Syed Jawaid Iqbal for and on behalf of JAWZ Communications (Pvt.) Ltd.

Views expressed by the contributors are not necessarily shared by the editors.

Published since 1977 as Thirdworld, the magazine was re-launched in 1997 as SouthAsia.



By Khawaja Amer

Even after about six decades the Kalabagh Dam project despite being the most essential, in fact indispensable for Pakistan’s energy requirements, its irrigation system and the future development of the country, could not be started because of the whims of political leaders of Sindh and KPK. The Sindh politicians argue that if Kalabagh Dam is constructed, river Indus will have no water in flow and sea water will enter the river bed, damaging agricultural land. The KPK leaders believe that Nowshera will be submerged in water if the dam is built.

The Saudi-Qatari conflict poses a difficult diplomatic test for Pakistan as it enjoys close economic and geopolitical ties with both Riyadh and Doha. There is a diplomatic standoff in the Arab world and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and the UAE have severed ties with Qatar, creating a catch-22 situation for Pakistan. Saudi Arabia expects unconditional support from Pakistan while Qatar demands firm support from the country in view of the much talked about Qatari letter and the LNG deal. Briefing the Senate standing committee, Pakistan’s advisor on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan would pursue a neutral policy on the Gulf crisis and try its best for reconciliation among the brotherly Muslim countries. The situation turned a bit sour when Nawaz Sharif dashed to Saudi Arabia and his offer for reconciliation was turned down with a simple question - Are you with us or…? He is said to have met the Saudi King as a part of his mediatory efforts and also talked with the Qatari Emir on phone.

The situation got worse with the report that Pakistan could send up to 20,000 soldiers to Qatar. Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria had to clarify things by saying that the report was false and appeared to be part of a malicious campaign aimed at creating a misunderstanding between Pakistan and the Gulf Muslim nations. Pakistan’s position is precarious because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif enjoys a personal relationship with the royal family of Saudi Arabia while Qatar’s Prince Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber Al-Thani is playing a role in defending the Sharifs in the Panama case and the country just cannot afford to displease Qatar. Riyadh has saved Sharif’s life in the past when Pervez Musharraf imprisoned him after his coup in 1999 and this he can never forget. With the Qatar-Gulf States standoff, the question of Raheel Sharif’s commanding a military alliance of Muslim states has also become controversial. The alliance was formed by Saudi Arabia in December 2015 with its headquarters in Riyadh. Though the Pakistan government is said to have granted permission to retired general Raheel Sharif to lead the force despite reservations from Iran, the situation has now changed. As such, Raheel Sharif’s continuation in the job has become somewhat controversial. There are some reports that Gen. Raheel Sharif is considering returning home in wake of the open anti-Iran posture by Washington and Riyadh. But his speculated departure from Saudi Arabia is as much shrouded in mystery and secrecy as was his decision to join the Saudi-led alliance.

Moreover, unfortunately the Saudi-Qatari conflict has come at a time when Pakistan has many internal problems and is going through tensions with India, Iran and Afghanistan. At this time, it badly needs support from its friends, especially the Arab world. With a seemingly prolonged Saudi-Qatar rift, Pakistan faces a difficult choice, especially vis-à-vis its multipronged security and energy crises. Saudi Arabia is its largest source of remittances annually. With Qatar, Pakistan has signed a 15-year gas supply agreement to import 3.75 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually and add 2,000 megawatts of power to the national grid.

With the US approach to single out Iran, the situation has become difficult because Qatar and Iran share the same gas reserves and cannot afford to go against each other. Any effort for compromise between Qatar and Saudi Arabia without Iran’s participation would not be possible.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is definitely in a better position than Donald Trump to broker a deal between Qatar and Saudi Arabia because of his personal relationships. He can still bring both the countries to the negotiating table very cautiously keeping himself away from siding with any party. Naturally, Pakistan must take some difficult decisions in the process, including Gen. Raheel’s early return to Pakistan. Negotiating is a way of reconciling the various visions and needs of two parties, as well as an inevitable stepping stone to an improved future. Will Pakistan pick up the gauntlet by maintaining a neutral policy in this situation? The country is at the receiving end and needs to play its cards right as the world’s second biggest Muslim state, the only Muslim nuclear power and possessing an army that is one of the best in the world. It must emphasise its position on these lines and emerge as an important country instead of simply becoming a footnote of history.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal


Anti-Romeo Squads

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has been taking innovative measures to tackle social evils. Soon after taking oath, he introduced ‘anti-Romeo’ squads, a self-appointed group of vigilantes to curb eve-teasing and sexual harassment of women in public spaces. Although the bizarre decision could not bring down harassment against women, it has given rise to harassment of innocent youth. Now, the so-called moral brigades have been given a mandate to cross-question any young couple sitting in a public park or they may go to the extent of asking a couple walking in the street to show its marriage certificate. In a few incidents, some couples with children were even asked to show their children’s birth certificates. Despite an apparent violation of citizens’ rights, this trend is getting out of hand and should be stopped immediately.

S. Nagesha Krishnamurthy,
Noida, India.

What’s In a Name?

This is with reference to the article by Faizan Usmani on the tradition of naming development projects and buildings after political figures in India. As per my observation, the situation is quite similar in Pakistan as well. Particularly in Sindh, the provincial government has been consistently using state machinery to glorify slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto. On her first death anniversary in 2008, the State Bank of Pakistan issued a commemorative coin of Rs. 10 denomination, while the Pakistan Post also issued a commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 4 in honour of Benazir Bhutto. This is utterly nonsense, as well as a blatant misuse of public funds. As a prime minister of the country, Benazir’s rule was full of lawlessness and corruption. If she were still alive, we would know more about her corruption scandals, instead of fabricated stories of her greatness. Personalities should be venerated and discussed on merit, a culture the PPP can never afford.

Syed Mohammad Imtiaz,
Lahore, Pakistan.


Avoid and Rule

This is with reference to last month’s cover story on the complacent attitude often shown by the government over the state of public welfare. For rulers in this part of the world, it has become quite a common phenomenon to rate their performance as satisfactory no matter how poor it has been. To be very honest, this approach makes sense for the government as showing only a rosy picture to the people gives it a reason to stay in power. No government can afford to blame itself for its wrongdoings. Briefly put, the ruling class has been religiously following an ‘avoid and rule’ policy to focus on its vested interests, giving less regard to the plight of common citizens. More than a Machiavellian approach, this is perhaps the art of running government and state affairs in the modern world where even a low-performing government is able to stand up in front of its people with its false claims about nationwide development and economic progress.

Rubina Anwar,
Gujranwala, Pakistan.

What Ails Afghanistan

Along with many other long standing issues, the lack of genuine and visionary leadership is a major concern hurting Afghanistan since ages. There has been a continued clash between individuals and institutions for egoistic reasons and everyone in the corridors of power seems to drag each other’s feet, with total disregard for the future of the war-torn country. In fact, personalities tend to have a definite dominance over institutions and try to run state affairs as per their own discretion, instead of working in tandem with all stakeholders. Unfortunately, institutions in Afghanistan are never given their due status and individuals decide state matters or manage the policymaking process, bypassing the legislature as well as other governmental agencies. Frankly speaking, this is not a conspiracy hatched by our enemies, but our own incompetence and the lack of ability that pushes us way behind the international community.

Rajab Ali Kandhari,
Kabul, Afghanistan.

GSP+ Status under Threat

Recently, three European Commission bodies have jointly sent a warning letter to Bangladesh stating that it needs to implement the recommendations made by the International Labour Organisation last year in order to avoid the suspension of GSP+ status the country has been enjoying for the past few years. This calls for urgent attention because if the EU withdraws GSP+ trade benefits for Bangladesh it will not be able to get zero-duty access to the European market. This will be detrimental to the country’s readymade garments sector that currently employs more than 4.2 million people. Owing to GSP+ cancellation, all shipments to the European market would be subject to 12.5 per cent duty that would be a major blow to Bangladeshi exports as a whole. The Bangladeshi government needs to take some immediate actions to avoid the looming threat of GSP+ concessions withdrawal.

Ghulam Ali Kibria,
Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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