India is the biggest threat to our water resources: General® Zahir ul Islam

By Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: An Islamabad based think tank Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) organized a Seminar having title “Water Security and Emerging Threats in Pakistan” at Islamabad club on Thursday. Senior members of CGSS Advisory Board, water experts, analysts, government representatives and students from various universities attended the Seminar.

Former DG Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General® Zahir Ul Islam said on the occasion that India is the biggest threat to our water resources and security. Former DG ISI was of the opinion that once the Water was our biggest asset, the blood to the agricultural backbone of our economy, now it is our biggest threats. Our dams remain empty, and there is less and less clean water to drink each year. This shows the amount of mismanagement and ignorance we show to this vital commodity.

Responding to a question Chairman CGSS Lieutenant General® Zahir Ul Islam said we should prepare for war with India over water. He said we should not be slave of Indus Water Treaty as there are other options to secure the water.  He further stated that mismanagement between india&paksitan and bad border relations are not the only reasons for water scarcity, the fact is population explosion and both countries have entered a struggle to attain the bigger portion of natural water reserves.

Former Chairman WAPDA, Mr. Shams ul Mulk said I do not say those who oppose the Kala Bahgh Dam are the enemies of Pakistan rather their opposition is based on political gains. He enlightened the participants regarding the importance of water resources management in Pakistan. He stated that proper management is mandatory. Most important issue is pollution water sources. Real models of sustainable water resources management are still in need. He also talked about the loopholes in the bureaucracy which is hampering the implementation of various projects and the need for reforms. Furthermore, he underlined the economic consequences of delaying the projects and its ultimate burden on the Pakistani economy.

President CGSS Major General® Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery stated that some international think tanks had predicted that the 21st century will see water wars in the world. The international community needs to recognize this danger and help in resolving the Kashmir issue on an urgent basis. We know that Pakistan is a lower riparian state and there are international conventions protecting the rights of such states and most of our water resources emanate from hostile territory i.e. India, who is now bent upon using this natural resource as a strategic weapon.

Brigadier Muhammad Aslam® presented speech on “Realistic Appraisal of Indus water Treaty”. He stated that there is a strong perception of Indian wrongdoing with the water situation in Pakistan. He explained in detail the basic principles of Indus Water Treaty. He stated that Indian Kishanganga hydel project could interfere with Neelum–Jhelum Power Plant. India as an upper riparian is not doing responsible water shed management.  As per Indian view, they are using less than their irrigation entitlement and Pakistan is getting more water due to their inability to use the water entitled. He stated that India may be able to use water as a weapon of war.

Mr Babur Suhail addressed the participants regarding “Growing Indian Threats to Cut Water Supply: Analysis of I.W.T”. He stated that right after independence friction was there on water sharing between Pakistan and India. He stated that I.W.T. is based on “DIVISION” instead of “SHARING”. He shed light on the Indus Water Treaty, its implications for India-Pakistan as well as the water terrorism and threatening statements by India to turn Pakistan into a water scarce country.

Mr. Khalid Rahim discussed the sustainable development of hydro power projects and water security. He said that Pakistan is among 36 most water scarce countries in the world and that water is required for power generation and agriculture. He enlightened the audience about constraints in development of hydel power projects. Furthermore, he explained the essence of Indus River Basin and possible threats to Pakistan’s water security. He also emphasized on conducting debates, discussions and seminars pertaining to Water security concerns at different forums. Notably he urged the prioritization of this vital issue which has the possible repercussions for the socio-economic factors of Pakistan.

Muhammad Ashraf presented his extensive views on water management loopholes and elaborated the essence of water for human life. He also discussed the impact of mismanagement of water resources and its repercussions on the economy. Further highlighting the impatcs of mismanagement of water’s effective utilization, he briefed that ground water depletion is a major cause of loss of water in Pakistan. Notably he also gave certain precautions and recommendations for the effective water storage in Pakistan.

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