LAHORE: The unannounced opening of waterways by India has created a possible risk of flooding in Sutlej River, Punjab.
Within the next 24 hours, 240,000 cusecs is expected to enter Pakistan through Ganda Singh Wala, a border village near Kasur, Punjab with fears mounting that the areas near Kasur, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Okara, Bahawalnagar, Vehari and Lodhran will be hit by floods.
Meanwhile, the water level in Ravi River has witnessed a trifling rise, but there is no threat of flooding.
According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Punjab officials, 150,000 cusecs is expected to pass through Ganda Singh Wala where currently the water flow has crossed 34,000 cusecs, while 130,000 cusecs through Head Sulemanki where the water flow is 29,000 cusecs, which is increasing.
According to the PDMA, the water flow capacity at the location of Head Sulemanki is 175,000 cusecs, while Ganda Singh Wala, from where the water would enter Pakistan, holds capacity of 50,000 cusecs.
PDMA focal person Nisar Ahmed told The Express Tribune that they were keeping a close watch on the water flow in Sutlej and other rivers.
“India has released water without prior information. We have received this information from different sources,” said the PDMA focal person. “Currently, the flood expected from India can cause normal flood in Sutlej River.”
He said on the directives of the Punjab chief minister, the people residing in the riverbed were being evacuated.
In view of the flood in Sutlej River, Buzdar summoned an emergency meeting in Lahore. He discussed the situation arising due to release of water in Sutlej River by India. The meeting also reviewed arrangements for relief activities.
The Chief Minister Secretariat spokesperson said Buzdar was personally monitoring the precautionary measures and relief activities aimed at dealing with possible threat of flood.
The chief minister has also issued necessary instructions to provincial administration and concerned departments, he added.
The provincial irrigation ministry and disaster management conducted a survey of Kasur, Okara and other districts and were keeping a continuous watch on the situation.
Eighty-one relief camps were set up in various districts, including Kasur.
On the other hand, the water level in Ravi River has started to rise due to the recent rains. People in large numbers reached Ravi River to look at the water. According to the Flood Forecasting Division, Lahore, there was no threat of flood in Ravi River and the water flow was below normal level.
Separately, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda said the Indus Water Treaty was not only a sign of peace in Pakistan and India but the whole region.
“If India violates the Indus Water Treaty, then according to the treaty, Pakistan will get complete justice,” he added.
On India turning the direction of rivers towards Pakistan, Vawda said, “Pakistan is focusing on the Indus Water Treaty and we are considering all options.
“According to Article 12 of the Indus Water Treaty, no country by itself can end the agreement. It can only end with the mutual consultation of both the countries.”
Vawda said, “Under the Indus Water Treaty, India is bound to inform Pakistan beforehand about the flood water, but it violated the agreement.”
Pakistan’s Indus Water Treaty commissioner has lodged a protest with the Indian commissioner.