A farmers’ convention on Wednesday warned of deepening water shortage crisis and called for expedited construction of water reservoirs and hydro-electric projects for addressing water and energy shortage in the country.
This was demanded in a declaration adopted at the end of a daylong convention of representatives of bodies of farmers from all provinces, which had been organized by Pakistan Muttahida Kissan Ittehad. The convention held here was titled “Water and Agriculture Conference”.
The convention said construction of water reservoir projects having a total capacity of 12 MAF, whose PC-I had been approved by Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), should be immediately started. Similarly, construction of hydro-electric projects, which were being delayed, should be started forthwith, the farmers’ representatives added.
The farmers criticized the government for its incompetence and indifference to the water shortage issue, which was seriously impacting agricultural output in the country. They said rulers and the politicians were responsible for the delay in construction of water reservoirs and dams in the country.
The farmers emphasized on honest implementation of the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord. They criticized Indus River System Authority Chairman for saying that equitable distribution of water among the provinces could not be guaranteed.
The convention demanded that IRSA should be freed from political influences. On India’s water aggression against Pakistan, the farmers asked the government to seek international arbitration over violations of Indus Water Treaty by India.
They asked the government not to entertain US, World Bank and IMF pressures on this issue and go all out for getting the country’s due right.
Participants of the convention emphasized on Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa to realize the seriousness of water shortage and play his role with regards to the implementation of Indus Water Treaty.
Chairman Pakistan Muttahida Kissan Mahaz Ayub Khan Mayo, on this occasion, announced that an All Parties Conference would be convened in Islamabad on July 25 on water and energy issues to apprise the political leadership about the seriousness of water scarcity crisis.
Chairman Zamindar Action Committee Balochistan Malik Naseer Shahwani said the army chief needed to take note of government’s failure to address water shortage and complete energy projects. Much like CPEC, he said, the army should oversee early construction of water reservoirs and hydro-electric projects.
The participants of the convention decided to hold farmer rallies on the occasion of 59th anniversary of Indus Water Treaty on October 19 and present memoranda to US embassy and UN mission on Indian violations of Indus Water Treaty.