The Kalabagh Dam, is a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Indus River at Kalabagh in the Mianwali District of Punjab Province in Pakistan. Intensely debated, if constructed the dam would have 3,600 megawatts (4,800,000 hp) of electricity generation capacity.
Kalabagh, on the bank of Indus River, was a state ruled by the Nawabs for nearly 900 years, since the time of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. During the British Raj Kalabagh was not made a princely state by the British. It was a jagir that had been ruled by the Nawabs since 1100, while most of the other states were mere inventions of the British. The state was captured by his ancestors who were Awan of Arabs origin. He was very proud of his Awan origin. He always maintained that he was descended from an individual named Qutb Shah, a ruler of Herat and a general in the army of Mahmud of Ghazni, who himself was a Hashemite descendant of the Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Ali (but by a wife other than the Prophet's daughter, Fatimah). As Sir Lepel Henry Griffin states:
"All branches of the tribe (Awans) are unanimous in stating that they originally came from neighourhood of ghazni to India, and all trace their genealogy to Hazrat Ali the son-in-law of the Prophet. Kutab Shah, who came from Ghazni with Sultan Mahmud, was the common ancestor of the Awans…….It was only in the Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Shahpur districts that they became of any political importance……. In Shahpur District the Awans held the hilly country to the north west, Jalar, Naoshera and Sukesar, where the head of the tribe still resides. ”
In December 2004, then President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf, announced that he would build the dam to serve the larger interest of Pakistan. However, on 26 May 2008, the Federal Minister for Water and Power of Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashraf, said that the "Kalabagh Dam would not be constructed" and that the project had been cancelled due to "opposition from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and other stakeholders, the project was no longer feasible". In 2010 after the worst floods in Pakistani history, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, stated flood damage would be minimised if the Kalabagh Dam were built.
Bashir A. Malik, former chief technical advisor to the United Nations and World Bank, said, "Sindh and Pakhtunkhwah would become drought areas in the years to come if Kalabagh Dam was not built." At the same time, former KP Chief Minister Shamsul Mulk has stated that the "Kalabagh Dam would be helpful in erasing poverty from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as it would irrigate 800,000 acres of cultivable land that is located 100–150 feet above the level of River Indus." The Kalabagh Dam would provide 6.5 million acre feet of water to cultivate seven million acres of currently barren land in addition to the 3,600 megawatts (4,800,000 hp) of electricity it would provide. In response to the push towards side-lining Kalabagh altogether in favour of the rival Basha Dam project, Engineer Anwer Khurshid stated that "Basha Dam is no substitute for Kalabagh Dam, not because of its altitude, which is high enough, but because no irrigation canals can be taken out from it because of the hilly terrain."
Experts who supported the construction of the Kalabagh Dam at the 2012 "Save Water Save Pakistan" Forum included: Dr. Salman Shah, former Finance Minister of Pakistan; Abdul Majeed Khan, TECH Society president; Shafqat Masood, former IRSA chairman; Qayyum Nizami, former Minister of State; Prof Abdul Qayyum Qureshi, former Vice-Chancellor of Islamia University, Bahawalpur; Dr Muhammad Sadiq, agricultural scientist; M Saeed Khan, former GM of Kalabagh Dam Project; Engr. Mahmudur Rehman Chughtai, Mansoor Ahmed, former MD of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Foundation, M. Zubair Sheikh and Jameel Gishkori, among others. The participants of Save Water Save Pakistan demanded the construction of five dams, including the Munda Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam, Akhori Dam and the Kalabagh Dam, at by 2025 at the latest to store water and generate electricity to meet demand.
Conversely, former Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chief Engineer, Engr. Shahr-i-Yar Khan has claimed that construction of the Kalabagh Dam is not suitable for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and will involve significant fiscal waste when compared to the many other suitable sites for proposed dams on the Indus River. Shahr-i-Yar Khan, who has trained abroad and served in various positions at the WAPDA, highlighted various issues related to construction of the dam, stating that it would have a number of adverse effects on the generation capabilities of the Barotha power complex.
Pakistan Economy Watch suggested the government to make consensus and start a debate on the KBD issue. A Feaseability report is also published in the research gate.
An independent panel convened by the World Bank in the late 1980s supported the recommendations of the Project Planning Report. The Pakistan & Gulf Economist reported in 2003 that "One of the major reason for the insistence to build a storage dam at Kalabagh is that it is the only option ready for immediate implementation supported by number of surveys and feasibility studies costing billions of rupees."
Kalabagh dam is condemned by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. The Government time to time tries to make consensus on the issue. The leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah showed objection on the site of Kalabagh Dam and said its a threat to small provinces. The Chief Minister of KPK Pervez Khattak said that the KBD is against the interests of KP. Awami National Party has opposed the construction and site of KBD.
The Sindhi Association of North America published a seven objections on the Kalabagh dam, which includes shortage of water, Kotri down stream devastation. Sustainable Development Policy Institute published a case study on Kalabagh dam.