Jamaat Ali Shah was Pakistan’s Indus Waters Commissioner with a long tenure because he had a brilliant record as his country’s watchdog over India’s actions under the Indus Waters Treaty (1960). Then, some people thought he was in cahoots with the Indians. The state went for him. See the chronology of this unhappy episode.
The Jamaatud Dawa newspaper, Jarrar (March 5, 2010), reported that the people of Pakistan thought that Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner, Jamaat Ali Shah, was bodily a Pakistani but his tongue spoke the language of Hindus. He had not stopped making the strange statement that India had not stolen Pakistan’s water. Jamaat Ali Shah was getting his salary from Pakistan but was working for India.
Before this, the Jamaatud Dawa had taken out a procession on Lahore’s central mall in February 2010. Provocative speeches were made. Then, the army chief and the prime minister also raised “the issue of waters” in their statements.
Reported in the Nawa-i-Waqt (June 3, 2010) a seminar held by the Nawa-i-Waqt group of newspapers decided that Jamaat Ali Shah defended India’s stealing of river waters through 62 dams. Speakers included retired ambassadors and army officers, who said that India was stealing 14 million acre feet of water and that India’s water aggression could lead to an Indo-Pak war that would soon turn into a nuclear world war.
The Nawa-i-Waqt further accused Jamaat Ali Shah of stating that Pakistan was getting its share of waters under the Indus Treaty and that building a dam was the right of India. He said less water in Pakistani rivers was because of lack of rain, not because India had stolen it. The statement was a shock to many who thought India was waging a water war against Pakistan.
Reported in the Nawa-i-Waqt (December 16, 2010) Jamaat Ali Shah was made officer on special duty by the prime minister. He was commissioner in 1993 and was on the job till 2010, while India changed four commissioners during this period. Zahurul Hasan Dahir of the anti-India lobby said Shah had “accepted Indian influence” and had allowed Indian dams to be built on rivers belonging to Pakistan.
Reported in Jang (January 5, 2012), Indus Waters ex-commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah facilitated the building of India’s illegal Nimoo-Bazgo dam so that Leh could get electricity, which meant that Indian soldiers at Siachen would get the benefit of more comfort through the use of electricity.
Dawn (April 16, 2011) reported: Intelligence agencies seized the record of at least two federal ministries to investigate an alleged institutional lapse of not raising objections over Indian aggression on the country’s water rights. A preliminary report maintained that the commissioner had remained silent over the Nimoo Bazgo hydropower project (built by India during 2002-2009) and did not raise any objections during the meetings. There were rumours that Shah had fled the country.
The Express Tribune (January 3, 2012) reported: The latest case under dispute is the construction of the controversial 45-MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project on the Indus River by India; (then) Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani approved challenging the project in the International Court of Arbitration (ICA).
After six months, the Daily Times (July 18, 2012) reported that the federal government had decided not to file a lawsuit in the ICA, in The Hague, regarding the controversial 45-MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric power project. The fear was that Pakistan might lose again as it did over the Baglihar Dam.
Annexure C of the Indus Waters Treaty allows India to take some water from the Western Rivers given to Pakistan. Annexure E says there is no bar on India building water storage dams for electricity generation on the Western Rivers.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2012.
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