ISLAMABAD: As India continues to build dams and hydropower projects in pursuit of acquiring capability to manipulate the flow of water, experts have warned that New Delhi may be able to use water as a weapon of war against Pakistan.
They expressed these concerns at a seminar on “Water Security and Emerging Threats in Pakistan” organised by the Centre for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS) on Thursday.
The seminar brought together water experts, climatologists, specialists, government representative, students from across the country and individuals from public and private entities.
In his opening remarks at the event, Chairman CGSS Lt-Gen (retd) Muhammad Zahirul Islam said, “Water was once our biggest asset – the blood to the agricultural backbone of our economy – [but] now it is our biggest threats.”
He added, “Our dams remain empty, and there is less and less clean water to drink each year” and “this shows the amount of mismanagement and ignorance we show to this vital commodity”.
The CGSS chairman called India the biggest threat to Pakistan’s water security.
Former WAPDA chairman Shamsul Mulk presented a paper on “Political, Economic and Social Issues faced by Pakistan in Securing Water Resources”, and highlighted the importance of water resources management.
Describing proper management as mandatory, he spoke about the loopholes in the bureaucracy, hampering the implementation of various projects, and stressed the need for reforms.
Chairman Gomal Damaan Area Water Partnership Brigadier (retd) Muhammad Aslam delivered a speech on “Realistic Appraisal of Indus water Treaty”.
He said that India’s Kishanganga Hydel Project could interfere with Neelum-Jhelum Power Plant. “India, an upper riparian, is not doing responsible watershed management,” he stressed.
Vice President CGSS Babur Suhail spoke about “Growing Indian Threats to Cut Water Supply: Analysis of IWT”.
He shed light on the IWT (Indus Water Treaty), its implications for Pakistan and India as well as water terrorism and threatening statements by India to turn Pakistan into a water-scarce country.
He stated that right after the independence, there was friction on water sharing between Pakistan and India. He said the IWT is based on ‘division’ instead of ‘sharing’.
Chairman, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) Muhammad Ashraf presented his 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 impacts of mismanagement of water, he briefed that ground water depletion is a major cause of loss of water in Pakistan. Notably, he also gave certain precautions and offered recommendations for effective water storage in Pakistan.