Speculations Surround Sudden Resignation of WAPDA Chief Mahmood

Chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority, Zafar Mahmood, has tendered an abrupt resignation from the key position and given birth to new speculations about the likely causes behind the sudden move. Even though the spokesperson of WAPDA explained that Mr. Mahmood’s decision was prompted by personal reasons only, several sources have claimed that he was asked to resign by the Prime Minister to please the PPP and win its support in the present situation when the Opposition is getting united to dislodge the over three-year-old PML-N-led coalition.

Several reports claim that WAPDA Chief was actually restricted from doing his job about 10 days ago but it was not immediately made public for political expediency. It is alleged that Mehmood’s series of articles supporting the controversial Kalabagh Dam caused an uproar in the PPP and the ANP leadership. Zafar is not the first WAPDA chief to speak in support of KBD as Shamsul Mulk, former WAPDA chairman, also bluntly supported building of 3,600MW hydel project in Kalabagh in district Mianwali despite opposition of major political parties from KP and Sindh.  

That coupled with the slow pace of work on the construction of Tarbela 4 Extension (T4) and Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project are stated to be the reasons that annoyed Prime Minister Sharif, who reported asked Zafar to get aside. Both these projects are anticipated to generate up to 2,400MW of electricity and are crucial for the ruling party to fulfil its commitment of ending load-shedding before next elections in 2018. However, now they are not likely to be completed as per schedule.

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