Kalabagh or Sabazbagh?

Will it ever happen?


Located in the province of Punjab in the district of Mianwali. Kalabagh holds great significance for Pakistan as a whole owing to its prime location on the western bank of Indus river. Besides its optimal location for the development of a hydroelectric dam which unfortunately was never realized due to political interests. The city of Kalabagh has an enriched royal history since it was first found and run by the Nawabs of Kalabagh.

Kalabagh Dam & the conflict

The need for the dam in the region was first expressed in the year of 1984 to meet the rising population of Pakistan and fulfil their requirements. Furthermore, an emphasis was put on the construction of the dam since Pakistan primarily relied on agriculture as an economy. Building a dam meant an overall improvement in the water supply as well as the agricultural economy. One reason why the dam has not been built yet has to do with the legislators tossing the image of the dam as theft of prosperity from the share of respective provinces, how?


Sindh claims that the Kalabagh Dam would strip them of their privileges to water and annihilate downstream water access and quality for farmers and metropolitan focuses. 

The possibility of the Kalabagh dam as a venture to address water shortage has not been effectively dispersed to ease fears of inconsistent allotments of water, advantages, and dangers that might actually emerge from the undertaking. Sindhi legislators have contended that the focal government didn’t consider the water needs of Sindh when the Indus Waters Treaty was endorsed in 1960.


Likewise, there is resistance to the dam’s development from the upper riparian territory of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). As the boundary among Punjab and KP lies straightforwardly north of Kalabagh, a significant part of the water catchment is arranged in the last mentioned, which implies KP chances of losing an enormous space of rural land to flooding from the dam’s development.


Even inside Punjab, development is additionally gone against because of its probably sway on networks on the arranged building site. Punjabi residents of the Mianwali area close to the arranged dam contend that the advantages of the dam will be unevenly conveyed.

5 reasons why Kalabagh dam needs to be built

  • Kalabagh has a greater storage capacity than Tarbela dam or Mangla dam.
  • Kalabagh dam can produce more electricity than Tarbela or Mangla dams.
  • Building of Kalabagh dam can help navigate streams of Indus River much more conveniently through surrounding hills.
  • Building Kalabagh dam can further enhance the waterways of Pakistan by the construction of canals.
  • Majority of Pakistan’s water supply is dumped into oceans without any utilization due to lack of dams.


Kalabagh dam is a pressing issue amongst the local governments and is an ideal example of a political failure and the government’s shortcomings in prioritizing nation’s interest over personal political interests. The construction of dam can easily resolve the everlasting issue of electricity crisis in Pakistan, make electricity cheaper for locals, make farming easier as well as boost the economy of Pakistan amongst other advantages. However, to fight its way to the development phase by bringing all political players to a compromise, better yet an understanding is still the biggest obstacle for any Federal government in all of Pakistan’s development projects.

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Habib Rajput


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