Khurram Ali Khan
Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - Water wars is a phrase used, across the world, to describe increased competition for water resources, due to drought, climate change, or increasing populations; controversies over and reduced access due to privatization of water services; or the role of these tensions in leading to physical conflicts, within or among nations. Experts say it would be the era… in which rivers, lakes and aquifers become national security assets to be fought over, or controlled through surrogate armies and client states.
Pakistan has become the victim of Indian hydrological warfare to arrogate its rivers. The construction of Uri Todiam dam on river Poonch and Kishan Ganga dam on river Neelum, two tributaries of river Jhelum, are about to hit its final stage. Many other small hydel projects had also been accomplished while paper work has been on track for construction of five more dams; most of them are to be erected on the Pakistani rivers. The pace of work on several of these projects prognosticate their completion imminently so that very instant India will be in a position to close down both of these rivers upon its will. Consequently the closure of these rivers would play havoc with Pakistan’s agriculture and industry. Furthermore the inhabitants of these areas inside Pakistan will have to spar the drinking water paucity. Destruction of water resources and of forest catchments and aquifers is a form of terrorism. Denying people access to water by disrupting natural water distribution and rivers is also terrorism. In the ecological context of water wars, terrorists are not just those hiding in the caves of Afghanistan but those who have been depriving them of their right.
India has also commenced the building of major dam at Kargil on river Sindh and it has disbursed $200 billion for this purpose. The Indian water belligerence started when despite signing the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, it invited a bid for the development of a barrage namely Tulbul Navigational Project in 1985. The barrage was to be constructed on the River Jhelum, below the Wullar Lake near Sopore, 25 km north of Srinagar. For Pakistan , the geo-strategic significance of the site lies in the fact that its protectorate endows India with the means to browbeat Pakistan . A dam on that site has the prospective to devastate the intact system of the triple canal project within Pakistan namely, the Upper Jhelum Canal , Upper Chenab Canal and the Lower Bari Doab Canal.
Pakistan also terms the construction of Wullar barrage is in violation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). It also maintains that the construction of this major Barrage will also convert the resulting natural lake into a man-made storage with a capacity of 0.324 million acre feet (MAF) and adversely affect the flow of water into the country. The scenario for Pakistan gets grimmer with further construction of 12 dams on tributaries of river Indus (Sindh). India was using water of Indus River through a tunnel since long, which also amounts to major water aggression. After this, the Indian government brushed aside five main objections raised by Pakistan related to the construction of the Baglihar Dam and commenced construction work.
The construction of this controversial project violated not only the Indus Water Treaty but robbed Pakistan of its precious Chenab water. New Delhi also opposed any alteration in the design as recommended by its neighbor. Pakistanis believe that the height of the dam at 470 feet is disproportionate and will create a reservoir in excess of the power generation needs.This new reservoir potentially could block the flow of the river for a period of 26-28 days during the low season (January-February). It is also contended that a drop of 7,000 cubic feet per second per day in the river’s flow to Pakistan will come to pass during this period. The Baglihar Dam together with Dul Hasti and other dams can plainly diminish the flow of Chenab during the vital Rabi crop-sowing season (January and February). The dried crop could spell a disaster to Pakistan’s agricultural economy. It has feared that India might also be diverting water to some canals near Akhnor in Kashmir and storing the water in the Salal Dam in Jammu.
Now with this continuity of an aggression, the looming water wars with India arrived a stride nigher to comme il faut a bloodcurdling actuality after latest Indian design on engaging new 60 hydroelectric power projects on the Chenab river basin. The reality is that Pakistan is on the verge of being water vulnerable. This scarceness is kicking the bucket to the country’s agrarian yield, and so it has very rationality to be disquieted about India’s purposes. According to the conditions set in the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan was committed dominance over the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers but India was countenanced to apply them for irrigation and electricity propagation, as long as it never divest Pakistan of its legitimate partake. Concerning that India has so soon profaned the conditions of the treaty through its former power generation projects is based more on well researched and established facts. India will soon reach the stage where it has enough dams as mentioned above, to gravely strike our water provision. And why shouldn’t it choose to bring forth so while necessitated in any conflict is flared up? The political and environmental implications of the water situation are no longer the same as they were in 1960 when the Indus Water Treaty was signed, but there seems even less willingness to negotiate and compromise, especially from the Indian side. Without a bit of maturity India is treating this upcoming disaster in the same way as it do the vexing issue of Kashmir.
If India desires to be friendly with us why would it plan to erect dams which could upshot in Pakistan to get wasteland and overran with dearths? Why would it long for to be friendship and serve individuals and groups which want to discerp Pakistan? We should be wary of India, particularly, when it does congenial propositions towards us, for that is the time when India is paving the way to impair our pursuits. Still hanging on with all its secular grandiloquence, India’s highly religiously slanted inside should not be neglected. Camouflaging its face it direly wants trade and peace from us but try to backstab us by cutting our water supplies let us to think. Our newly emerged political leadership is dying to rendezvous the enemy in the disguise of friend. Will they beware of India when it is at its best behaviour with us? Our history demands us to do so.