Mere dukh kee dawa kare koee
In the series of violations of Indus Water Treaty (IWT), the latest violation by India has been the construction of Kishanganga dam on River Neelum and diversion of its water. Since partition, India has not spared any opportunity to damage Pakistan diplomatically, financially, socially, politically, environmentally or in any other field. Despite all-out sincere efforts by Qaid-e-Azam and successive Pakistani leaders, India has always shown indifference and animosity towards Pakistan. Pakistan is not the exception; all other Indian neighbors also have the same story to tell. India cut Pakistan into two, through her direct involvement in erstwhile East Pakistan, now her effort is to decimate the remaining Pakistan through all corrosive means to include water terrorism.
As a result of unjust IWT, Pakistan altogether lost three rivers, out of six, to India which it had legal rights to claim as a lower riparian. For the remaining three rivers it conceded a lot to India just for the sake of peace in the region.
The IWT generally stood the test of time for over 6 decades, including three wars without any major problem. However, of late India has started to grossly violate this time-tested treaty, with the sole purpose of converting Pakistan into a desert. India started violating IWT by commencing the construction of Salal Dam on River Chenab in 1978 which it completed in 1987. She is also constructing Sawalkot Dam, Pakuldul Dam, a large 829 feet high Bursar Dam, Gyspa Dam and many more small and big dams on Chenab and Indus Rivers. To strangulate Pakistan, she is also assisting Afghanistan to build about a dozen dams on Kabul River.
Unfortunately, the incompetency of Pakistani IWC to timely identify Indian violations of IWT and non-serious approach by successive Pakistani governments to pursue against India, emboldened her to further violate IWT. At the time of creation, Pakistan had 5500 m3/person/year availability of water which has fallen to around 1000 m3, mostly due to the violation of IWT by India.
It is feared that, if the situation doesn’t change the availability of water would fall to 800 m3 by 2025 and even worsen with the passage of time, making the survival difficult. India has already acquired the capacity to hold Pakistan’s water for 30 days,
which it can execute at any time to disrupt crops or release water to flood Pakistan at will. Whenever Pakistan raised the issue of violation of IWT with India, she entangled Pakistan in useless discussions to prevent it going to World Bank thus gaining time to complete controversial projects. The lack of professional approach by those who were supposed to contest Indian violations in the World Bank embarrassed Pakistan and it lost all the cases.
The Indian violations of IWT is costing Pakistan very dearly, however, the irony is that we have done nothing to preserve whatever water is available to us. Since our independence, we could hardly develop water storage capability for just a month, the remaining water has been going unutilized into the sea. Specially, during rainy/flood season huge quantity of water is wasted and goes to the sea, causing havoc en-route along the length and breadth of the country.
Just a few dams were made in 1960s, which are still carrying us to some extent, thereafter we indulged in water politics. Unfortunately, it resulted into acute shortage of water and non-availability of electricity/ cheap electricity. To make up the deficiency of electricity the reliance was placed on thermal electricity making it quite costly.
The costly electricity impacted negatively on the industrial development, by raising the cost of production of goods, thus taking Pakistan out of competition at international level. As per the experts Pakistan suffers an annual loss of around 200 Billion dollars just due to lack of big dams/ water storage capacity.
Certain politicians on the behest of India/ on the money of oil companies have been spreading wrong propaganda against Kalabagh Dam (KBD). The innocent public have been misled by certain politicians whereas others didn’t pick up the courage to tell the truth, fearing political repercussions. The experts have time and again declared Kalabagh as the most suitable and natural sight for the dam.
The stoppage of water by India, receding and polluting subsoil water, lack of big dams, electric outage/ costly electricity and apathy by political leaders has put the entire nation in a state of perplex and despondency.
The country has already suffered a lot and been waiting since long for a Messiah who could resolve this lingering and alarming issue. The nation has very high hopes from CJP and considers him the Messiah who can stare the problem in the face and has the courage to decide on merit. KBD is a technical issue and not a political issue thus requires technical solution.
The CJP needs to ensure that he only listens to the technical experts on the subject and decides on the merit of the case without referring it to the politicians. If the politicians are involved they may snare CJP into the political maelstrom and deceive him with their experience. However, most of the politicians know the importance of KBD and in their private discussions do favor its construction, but due to political exigencies don’t support it publicly.
The availability and storage of water is a matter of life and death for Pakistan warranting prompt decisions/ solutions. We have already wasted lot of precious time, the CJP must, therefore, immediately decide about the fate of KBD and bind the government to complete it within a specified time. The decision by CJP would, as a matter of fact, relieve the politicians from Catch-22 situation and strengthen the next government to construct KBD without any political pitfalls. He may also direct the government to constitute a panel of experts, including law experts, to vigorously contest Indian violations at World Bank and international forums.