The Pakistan People's Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called for the permanent closure of the controversial Chashma-Jhelum Link Canal, which according to him has caused a water crisis in the lower riparian province of Sindh, particularly in the tail-end districts.
In a statement issued on Friday, the PPP chairperson said that the Indus River System Authority's (IRSA) mandate is to monitor the distribution of water as per the Water Apportionment Accord. IRSA cannot enforce its authority in any other form.
"There is an acute water crisis in Sindh after Mangla Dam was filled beyond IRSA's approved controversial formula."
This overall situation has led to 27 percent decline in water flow downstream Sukkur Barrage, 44 percent at Kotri Barrage and zero at Guddu Barrage, he added. He said that the ineptitude of the PTI-led federal government has left no water for Guddu Barrage.
The heavy rains last year had filled all dams but the sheer mismanagement by the federal government under Prime Minister Imran Khan had caused the capacity of dams to be severely depleted, he alleged. The PPP chairperson warned of a famine-like situation developing in Sindh as a result of the PTI regime's policies that have converted lower Sindh into a desert, depriving Karachi, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin and Tharparkar of their rightful share of water.
It was on record that it was only after the PPP had been consistently raising its voice and putting immense pressure, that the PTI government closed the illegally launched Taunsa Panjnad Link Canal, he added.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that if the water crisis in the lower parts of Sindh remained unresolved, it could lead to a famine-like situation, and people would protest against the unavailability of drinking water in Karachi and other districts of the province.
While addressing the prime minister, the PPP chairman said that the sowing time for Khareef crops, which are sown in summer and harvested in autumn, was fast approaching and that the PM needs to ensure speedy and unrestricted water supply to Sindh.
Without water, it would be impossible for Sindh farmers to sow cotton and that would harm our already reeling textile industry that is currently facing a cotton crisis.
"Owing to the mismanagement of the federal government, a water crisis in Karachi and other parts of Sindh has already set in.
The province is being pushed against the wall by cutting off and diverting its rightful share of water."