Immediate withdrawal of Greater Thal Canal project demanded

The News
22 June 2003
KARACHI: Various politicians, scholars and agriculture experts have described the planned construction of Greater Thal Canal as "a conspiracy against Sindh" and demanded immediate withdrawal of the plan.

They were speaking at a seminar: "Thal Canal: A Matter of Life and Death for Sindh", organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement at a local hotel here on Sunday. Former caretaker prime minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi said that the Greater Thal Canal issue was a national issue, which should be solved with consensus or it could affect the country's stability. He said that there was no mention of the Greater Thal Canal in the Water Accord of 1991.

Renowned scholar and member of Sindh Assembly Hamida Khoro congratulated the Muttahida for organising a seminar on the Thal Canal issue. She said that the said canal was being constructed without taking all the four provinces in confidence. Its construction would add immensely to the problems of the people in Sindh, she added. She also stressed the need for strengthening the Federation.

Provincial Finance Minister Sardar Ahmed said the planned construction of Thal Canal was in contravention to the 1991 Water Accord as well as the constitution of the country. The plan should first be presented before the Council of Common Interest.

Director Agriculture and Research Aziz Khan Kerai said that the Sindh water had already been given to Punjab through an accord in 1971. He called for a joint voice against the construction of the said canal.

Chairman Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) Bashir Khan Qureshi said that the River Indus was the property of Sindh and it had been accepted in the 1945 accord.

A resolution was also unanimously approved during the seminar, which demanded the withdrawal of the Greater Thal Canal and utilisation of the Rs1 billion allocated for the construction of the Canal from the 2003-04 budget on the improvement on streams in the province. The resolution also demanded that the issue should be discussed by the representatives of all political parties at a roundtable conference, to be chaired by the prime minister of Pakistan.

Others who spoke included provincial ministers Shoaib Bukhari, Imtiaz Shiekh and Sardar Mansoor Ali Khan Panhwar, Provincial Advisor on Home Aftab Sheikh, General Secretary JSQM Abdul Wahid Aresar, journalist Izhar Soomro, leader of Awami National Party Amin Khattak, Khalid Mumtaz Advocate of Sindh National Alliance, Dr Ahsan Zamir of Pakistan Awami Tehrik, agriculture experts ANG Abbasi and Muhammad Hussain Panhwar.

Mr G Mustafa Jatoi
Mr Sardar Ahmed
Mr Aftab Ahmed Sheikh
Mrs Nasreen Jalil
Mr Amin Khatak
Mr A G N Abbasi
Dr Ahsan Zameer
Mr Basheer Qureshi
Dr Aziz Khan Kerani
Dr Hameeda Khooro
Mr Khalid Mumtaz
Mr Manzoor Ali Panwar
Mr Imtiaz Sheikh
Mr Abdul Waheed Aaresar
Mr Mohammad Hussain Panwar
Mr Shafi Izhar Soomro