STAFF REPORT IBD: Though Pakistan has once again shown a very flexible attitude towards normalization of bilateral relations with India by agreeing on soft visa policy following its earlier commitment to give the Most Favoured Nation status to its rival neighbour, however, the Islamabad government must not ignore the adamant rather aggressive policies of New Delhi especially on water issues as the latter is constantly building constructing water reservoirs and dams on the river waters allocated to Pakistan under the mutually agreed water accords, thus fast converting Pakistan into a waste and desert land.
“Snatching water from Pakistan and turning it into a wasteland has ever been the Indian desire and to fulfill this, it has been working on different water projects since long particularly Kishinganga Project, the Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant, the Wullar Barrage Project and so many others. It is an open secret that India is bent upon ruining Pakistan agriculturally and economically and the government of Pakistan must realize the gravity of this critical situation, otherwise it would be too late,” Ibrahim Mughal, Chairman of Agriculture Forum Pakistan, said in categorical terms.
Mughal asserted that the Indian attitude towards Pakistan has never changed especially in terms of water issues. “The construction of the Wullar Barrage on the River Jhelum would provide India total control over River Jhelum thus allowing it to deprive Pakistan of water of River Jhelum during winter seasons, which is disastrous for our countrys agriculture economy,” he maintained.
It is to be mentioned here that the government of Islamabad has recently noticed a drastic reduction of water flow at Head Marala which would prove very much harmful and disastrous to the crops on a large area of Pakistan and it may lead to a situation of famine causing whole sale starvation.
Under the Kishinganga Project, India has already diverted the Neelum River water through a canal system. Under the water accord, the Kishinganga River is reserved for Pakistans Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project, work on which started in 1989, and the diversion of this rivers water to the Kishinganga project will decrease water flow at the Neelum-Jhelum project and generation capacity of this project will reduce by 20 per cent, Agha Salahuddin, an agro-economist, said giving a serious caution about the expected agriculture crisis in the country.
According to the Indus Water Treaty, exclusive rights of the western rivers water are with Pakistan but India has been violating these rights for the last many decades. The World Banks arbitration court is also very well aware of the injustice done by India with reference to the construction of dams and barrages on the rivers flowing to Pakistan.
Same was the case with the construction of the Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant located on River Chenab and its construction plan was communicated by Indian 1992, he said adding during its initial filling, India again violated the clauses of the Treaty by not filling the dam in the stipulated timeframe and by not ensuring requisite inflow at Marala Head Works of Pakistan.
Other experts are of the strong view that the Indian is bent upon creating water hegemony in the region by illegally depriving Pakistan of its internationally agreed water share on western rivers and the government should not take this critical issue lightly as the countrys future is linked mainly with the water. The situation demands new water treaties between India and Pakistan otherwise the latter would become a desert land in near future.