Imran Khan did not initiate the Mohmand Dam project in KP

Mohmand Dam project was initially handed over to the private sector in 2002 during Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship

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Claim: Former prime minister Imran Khan initiated the Mohmand Dam project.

Fact: The idea behind the Mohmand Dam project was first initiated by the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) in 1963. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) conducted the project’s feasibility study in 2000. The project was further modified considering the 2008 crisis and the 2010 floods, and then WAPDA entered into a mutual agreement with private companies from Australia, Japan and within the country in 2017. While the PTI government did, indeed, revive the project, it was initiated at least 50 years before Imran Khan formed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government.

On 13 December 2022, PTI chief Imran Khan’s focal person for social media, Azhar Mashwani, shared a tweet with an image of the Mohmand Dam project with the caption, “Update on Under construction 800 MW Mohmand Dam. Another project initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan”. 

Fact or Fiction?

It can take a long time to construct large dams, especially in developing countries, due to the unavailability of primary resources and various legislative and political changes in the government. When the process is is expedited, it can be at the cost of displacing several thousands of people and their livelihoods. For example, the Tarbela Dam, which was built between 1968 and 1976, displaced over 90,000 families, according to some reports.

Imran Khan did not initiate the construction of the Mohmand Dam, and Soch Fact Check compiled a timeline of the project, which began in 1963, that proves this.

According to a 2017 Environmental Impact Assessment Report by the six different private companies involved in the dam’s construction, the project formally dates back to 1963, when WAPDA started initial geological investigations at the dam site. It also highlights that WAPDA conducted the pre-feasibility studies in 1992, and JICA did the complete feasibility study of the project in 2000. 

In 2010, after devastating floods hit the country, the Supreme Court sent an inquiry commission to investigate the damage, and they suggested that the Mohmand Dam construction should be carried out. Following this, AFD (Agence Francaise De Developpement) funded the preliminary phases, studies, and preparatory work for the project. This was done in collaboration with a consortium of companies led by an Australian engineering firm called SMEC International. 

These stages were crucial to the construction of the dam. According to WAPDA’s official website, the construction of the project commenced in 2019, while the PTI government was in power and is set to be completed by 2025. While the PTI government did, indeed, revive the project, they did not initiate it. 

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 8-day period since 13 December 2022 to 20 December 2022 using the following search terms:

  • “Imran Khan” “Mohmand Dam”
  • “عمران خان“ ”مہمند ڈیم”

We found Azhar Mashwani’s tweet here and Facebook posts here and here

Other posts on Facebook also claimed that only Imran Khan could initiate big dam projects after several years. Some of these can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Conclusion: Imran Khan did not initiate the Mohmand Dam project.

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