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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 18:37 GMT
Protest in Pakistan against dam
Protestors of Kalabagh Dam in a rally in Karachi
The political parties of three provinces oppose the dam project
Thousands have held a rally in Pakistan's North West Frontier province to protest against the construction of the controversial Kalabagh dam.

The rally in Jehangira town coincided with President Pervez Musharraf's statement that he will press ahead with the construction of the proposed dam.

Speaking to newspaper editors in Lahore Mr Musharraf said that the project was "inevitable for the nation's survival".

Politicians in NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan provinces oppose the dam.

'Greatest loser'

The government says the dam will provide ample water resources for irrigation and provide hydro-electricity.

But the dam faces toughest opposition from Sindh province which, according to the protesters, will lose out on the water supply from the Indus river.

Meanwhile NWFP province says that the construction of the dam will mean Naushera city will have to be submerged and many other areas in the province will face regular waterlogging.

Responding to the criticism, Mr Musharraf said that Sindh would be "the largest beneficiary, and also the greatest loser should this plan be abandoned".

"I am putting myself in a difficult situation," he added. Only the province of Punjab supports the Kalabagh dam project.

The BBC's Haroon Rashid says that the presence of the party led by Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao - the People's Party (Sherpao) - was seen as a major setback for President Musharraf.

The rally had representatives from the political parties of the three provinces.

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