Water is necessary for survival, and not just agriculture, industry or the overall economy. This fact has been ignored by past Pakistani governments and is still being taken lightly.
The construction of the Kishanganga and Ratledams by India did not start yesterday. Kishanganga Hydroelectric project started in 2007. In 2011, Pakistan protested at Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA) due to which the construction of the dam was halted temporarily before India got the permission to divert water from River Neelam.
Similarly, in 2013, India started its Ratle hydroelectric project to divert the stream of River Chenab to four different power stations with the help of 400m long underground tunnels. Pakistan did protest against these dams,but sadly enough it was never adequately prepared and hence lost the cases. In 2018, Pakistan rushed to World Bank when Kishanganga was inaugurated.
Today when our politicians should be talking about issues like dams, power plants, future water and food security, all parties are instead, without exception, busy with cheap tricks
There is no doubt that both these dams and many other smaller ones are a straight violation of Indus Water Treaty (IWT). If one reads the whole document of IWT in detail, it is evident that India has no right to restrict or interfere with the flow of the three western rivers, the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.
In 2013, when Pakistan lost its case and references were made to the annexures of IWT for allowance of these dams, those provisions when looked at clearly state that India is allowed to use water for agricultural use with specified quantity per crop with dates of months mentioned precisely for Chenab and area of irrigation for Indus. As far as hydroelectric power plants were considered, India was allowed only to construct such a plant on any western river to a total 250 cusecs, and that too with the clear condition that the water will be returned to the respective river and the flow of the river will not be violated.
This, however, is not the issue. The problem is the slow and weak reaction of concerned officials from within Pakistan. India being a rival nation was expected to do exactly what it did. We cannot blame it for its damaging attitude towards Pakistan. Why would India not try to destroy Pakistan with drought and water scarcity when it can? Won’t this be the easiest way of tackling an enemy without having to fight a direct war? India and its people are working together for their long-term development. If they have strong lobbying at the international level, if they are always prepared when they reach such meetings, if they are diplomatically much stronger than Pakistan, then we should not try and stop them from being this strong a patriot to their country? It is their national pride that wins. It is high time Pakistani people realised their role in self-survival and national spirit.
We have failed as a nation on multiple fronts. Today, when our politicians should be talking about the issues like dams, power plants, future water and food security, all parties without exception are instead busy in cheap tricks, even if they have to sacrifice water survival projects like the Kalabagh Dam.
In India, during summer semesters, professors from top global universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford etc. are recruited so that an average Indian also gets the chance to get international standard education and exposure. Whereas the HEC in Pakistan gives individual scholarships to Pakistani citizens for self-growth and learning, many of whom eventually stay abroad, seeking their personal growth over national benefit.
We need to open our eyes to the issue of water scarcity. If we don’t, India is right on target, and her dams have the potential to act as weapons of mass destruction
In India, documents like IWT and WTO are taught as a part of syllabus so that a common Indian is aware of their national interests. We, on the other hand, are sleeping; and I can bet not many educated Pakistanis would have had a chance of reading both these documents even once.
There may be many such comparative examples between the two countries. The purpose for writing this article is not to praise Indian policies but to create awareness of the fact that we are facing an enemy, which is not only clever but well-connected and well-researched.
If we are not going to open our eyes to the issue of water scarcity, India is right on target, and her dams have the potential to act as weapons of mass destruction against our beloved country.
SOURCE : DAILYTIMES