Water war hysteria

Ali Ashraf Khan

The drama that India and especially the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is playing in order to hide his failure to handle the current peaceful uprising in Kashmir peacefully, has reached another height. Despite tall promises of India shinning, which he had made during his election campaign, he has miserably failed in Kashmir with his government’s incapability to handle occupied Kashmir uprising without violence. After the killing of young Kashmiri freedom fighter Wani, Kashmiris have taken to demanding their birth right to choose the future of their homeland in accordance with UNSC resolutions freely. This India has been denying since long and a totally confused and frustrated Modi who in his Independence Day speech boasted that he is receiving messages of people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Baltistan and Azad Kashmir to come to their help for liberation from Pakistani federation, is at a loss to admit that his Kashmir policy has failed and only sheer military strength is keeping Kashmir with India. Having lost his face within India where he was criticised for unnecessary Pakistan bashing he took another U-turn now. His attempt to abrogate Indus Water Treaty unilaterally is so ridiculous that it can be interpreted only as a reflection of political bankruptcy of Indian govt.
The Kashmir problem is a longstanding one and the very fact that India instead of working for a solution itself involved a third party – the UNSC – in January 1948, shows that all it wanted from the very beginning was to show muscle power and overwhelm a newly founded and instable Pakistan through international pressure. It didn’t work then and it won’t work today when the hapless Indian Prime Minister and his tiger kitten Sushma try to utilize the international arena of UNGA to corner Pakistan as aggressor and solve the problem through pressure on us. But this is only an obvious attempt to hide the fact that India – the country that poses as regional power and aspires to international recognition as a permanent member of UNSC – during last almost seventy years has been unable to solve the central problem of South Asia created through a badly defined partition plan. In addition, India has failed to convince the population of Indian Occupied Kashmir that it would be beneficial for them to stay within India and that as Muslims they can find a cosy home and favourable developmental opportunities as Indians. Sheikh Abdullah became first Prime Minister of occupied Kashmir in March 1948. But when he saw Indian design to abandon commitment to the UNSC resolutions, he turned against his former friend Nehru and demanded self-rule for Kashmiris. He was dismissed in August 1953 and his voice was silenced by putting him in prison for long time but realising his mistake Pundit Nehru dropped all charges of conspiring against India in spring of 1964 and released him, then he was allowed to visit Pakistan in 1964 to consult Pakistani counterparts, but unfortunately Indian PM Nehru died suddenly and he had to immediately return back to attend Nehru’s funeral.
Since 1989 Kashmiris are up in arms and only the steady presence of seven lakh Indian soldiers armed to their teeth can keep Kashmir more or less quiet; but it is a calm of the qabristan (graveyard) only. The latest move of Prime Minister Modi – trying to blackmail Pakistan into submission by threat of unilaterally abrogating the Indus Water Treaty – is just another sign that Indian policy is using violence rather than negotiation. Access to and power over water resources has become a major reason for stiff stances on Kashmir because all major rivers originate from there. On April 1, 1948 India — taking advantage of its control over the head works — cut off the supply of water in every canal that crossed into Pakistan. When Pakistan protested India briefly restored a small flow. During the very first years of partition the waters of River Indus were apportioned by the Inter-Dominion Accord of May 4, 1948, which was violated by India on one pretext or another. In July 1951, Pakistan accused India of cutting water supplies to its Wagha and Bhaun villages. In 1960, first the IBRD and then the World Bank brokered the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), which was resisted in Pakistan and senior engineers including Dr. Mubasshar Hasan who had resigned, according to which, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, which constitute the eastern tributaries of Indus, are allocated for major use by India before they enter Pakistan. However, a transition period of 10 years was permitted in which India was bound to supply water to Pakistan from these rivers until Pakistan was able to build the canal system and water reservoirs for utilization of waters of Jhelum, Chenab and the Indus itself, under the treaty. Similarly, Pakistan got the right of the exclusive use of the western rivers Jhelum, Chenab and Indus. India, however, again started violating this treaty; so a permanent Indus Commission was created under the treaty.
From 1970 onward there have been some serious violations of IWT by India, as India opted to construct more than hundred hydropower projects in Kashmir and India isn’t sharing any information pertaining to the detail design, structural drawings, and design calculations of the upcoming projects. The most controversial dam issue is the proposed 330 megawatt dam on the Kishanganga River, whose construction was started in 2007 (also called Neelum in Pakistan-administered Kashmir), a tributary of the Indus. The water is also diverted to Wuller Barrage and Pakistan has also objections regarding the 850 MW Rattle hydropower project on Chenab River. Unaware of the consequences, the tea boy now Prime Minister’s mis adventure of water war against Pakistan is going to give China a reason to exercise more control on water of Indus and Brahmaputra that flows from China towards India, if Bakhara dam gets dried landmass of Indian Punjab will become barren, can India afford it? Water is not the only means to pressurize Pakistan.
Before that false flag operations of the Indian secret service RAW in Pathankot and Uri have been other signs of the violent attitude of the Indian state. Baseless accusations towards Pakistan of sending terrorists to IOK without any proof and blatant lies in front of world community on the stage of UNGA, are the means by which India blames Pakistan for supposed terrorism and get international support for their nefarious designs. Doesn’t it know seeds of terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan were sown by their present strategic partner USA in 1980s?
While this was going on in New York, desperate measures were being taken to take the world’s attention away from the ongoing brutalities inside Indian Occupied Kashmir. Looking at it from the point of view of India’s political skill abrogating a treaty that had been concluded with the help of the WB, is not only a kind of declaring water war on Pakistan – something that Pakistan has been fearing all along since its conclusion – but it also undermines India’s status as a reliable partner in contracts internationally. While the Indus Water treaty does need new negotiations between India and Pakistan this can be done meaningfully only in a cooperative way. Using an international treaty for blackmail is rather a poor political move of a country that thinks about itself as a regional power. Since India’s Kashmir usurping policy has failed and now it is trying to blame this failure on Pakistan and immature Narendra Modi is threatening to destabilize Pakistan by his so-called dream of inciting people in Balochistan, Gilgit and Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, unaware of the consequence, if his own people in UP, Bihar, Utterakhand, Jaharkhand, Tamils, Talingus and Khalistan struggle take a lead and accelerate their own freedom movements to dismember Indian Union.
Violence against Kashmiris, lies and accusations and even war threats against Pakistan or revoking Indus Basin Treaty to multiply Pakistan’s present energy and economic crises are a glaring illustration of this inability to put its own house in order. Even the Indian society has recognized this fact and is criticizing its government acts of omission and commission not only against Pakistan but dreaming an adventure against China with a newly found strategic partner US who has been given air bases in India. There is a dire need to talk, let’s not miss the deadline! Save Humanity and save the Earth, before the two nuclear power repeat the mistake of World war-II. Gode bless Pakistan and Humanity.
—The writer is a senior columnist based in Karachi.

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