The Regional Head Oxfam International Asia Ghulam Mustafa Talpur Saturday said that fair distribution of resources was a panacea for all ills as faced by Pakistan today and the country needed a paradigm shift in water governance. This he said while delivering a lecture on ‘redefining water resource management for sustainable and equitable use in Pakistan’ in the graduate seminar organized at US-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro on Friday evening.
He said that the vision of fair and just society in Pakistan could only be materialized by an equitable distribution of natural resources and providing equal opportunities to access all the basic needs of a life to all and sundry. He said that virtuous cycle of water-wealth and power existed in Pakistan, a few who usurped the resources of many at the cost of rest of the population who were denied their legal rights including water rights.
In Pakistan, he said, a woman played a very important role in the agrarian society but the country was witnessed as a gender-blind water system. He said that majority of the women in the country engaged in agriculture but on the contrary, they had been denied their water right, as they do not possess the land in most of the cases. He said that the effective land reforms were needed to be introduced granting the land rights to the women. ‘Water is more valuable than land, because when water is applied to land it increases its productiveness at least six-fold’, he quoted Sir Charles Trevelyan, a British Civil Servant served in the subcontinent and said that the rich and powerful persons in Pakistan intentionally keep the majority especially the tail-end farmers denied from their due share and right of water as to devalue the price of their land as not only to purchase the same land on cheap rate but irrigate by getting direct outlets illegally.
He said these powerful persons, unfortunately, rule the country since its inception and involved in legislation and administration. In Sindh, the people were denied their access to safe and clean drinking water; he said and added that in Badin and Thatta, the people were literally drinking the drainage water, which exposes them to fatal water-borne disease. He observed that unfair distribution of wealth generated by water resources cause 62 percent children stunting in rural areas of Sindh. He emphasized on the new vision, which was woven into the social purpose, and redefining the role of relevant institutions with the different set of knowledge and skills and reinventing- challenges bring opportunities.—APP