Sindhi political activists have strongly opposed the construction of Kalabagh Dam on the Indus River, calling it "illegal, unethical and immoral attempt" by Pakistan to deny life to the Sindhi people.
A side-event titled "Construction of Dam - denial of life to Sindhi People" was held during the ongoing 39th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday.
Lakhu Luhana, Secretary-General of World Sindhi Congress, said, "Already, there are a number of dams and canals that have been built against the international laws, conventions and even agreements. So, they are violating all of that. They built these dams and canals and as a result of that, it's not just hundreds and thousands, the lives of millions of people have been affected".
"Forget about the water for agriculture, you don't get water even for drinking and that's a grave situation. The ecological habitats of millions of years have destroyed and then the sea intrusion. The sea has taken over since 1956; and 3.5 million acres of land, along with 157 recorded settled villages are lost," he added.
The Sindhis believe that Kalabagh Dam would mean a death warrant for Sindh province which cannot be accepted under any compulsion.
"There is unemployment, there is poverty, there is disease, there is malnutrition. Children are dying on a daily basis. We are not saying this, it is being reported in the newspapers, Mr Luhana said.
Citing the United Nations, he said that women are worse in terms of the nutrition than Nigeria. "On top of this, the way they are propagating with the construction of this new dam, they basically want to put the Sindhis in a situation where they are completely and utterly dependent for their survival, even if they have to beg for a drop of water for their upcoming generations. We have to raise this issue on international forums as this is illegal, unethical and immoral," he added.
Dr Hidayat Bhutto, the United Kingdom and Europe organiser of World Sindhi Congress, said, "They are building dams against our wishes and we Sindhis don't want any dam on the upper stream because it has affected our lives, our culture. Our lives will be destroyed. So, we are against every single dam they are building on the Indus river."
He added, "They (Pakistanis) are destroying our delta, they are destroying our agriculture. It's a genocide for Sindhi people. They also know that Sindhi people are against it. For example, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court says we will apply Article 6 to those who are opposing dam that means he is willing to give death sentence to 70 million Sindhi people."
Dr Bhutto further said, "The Sindhi people are against it and the Pashtuns are against it as they are building it only for Punjab. They want to kill everybody in the interest of Punjab. They have already devastated our lives. Our situation is in misery and our culture, agriculture has been destroyed. Our natural resources have been destroyed and we don't want any dam on our Sindh."