Pak raises lands drying up issue due to Indian conspiracy with Holbrooke

August 21st, 2009 - 7:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Richard Holbrooke Islamabad, Aug.21 (ANI): The Pakistan Government is reported to have raised the issue of its agrarian lands drying up due to India’s water conspiracy with visiting US Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke.

Though Holbrooke told officials in Islamabad that American experts will soon be in town to help the country resolve its energy crisis, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make a further announcement on energy needs during her scheduled visit in October, the latter highlighted the fact that India has reduced the country’s agro-based economy to tatters by building the Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project on the Jhelum River.

The News quotes Indus Water Commissioners Ishrat Ali Khan and Jamaat Ali Shah, as saying that Pakistan has handed over credible evidence in June of this year to India, which establishes 14 agenda items; including the contentious Wullar barrage project.

Both officials says that while the talks were essentially a failure, the fact remains that India is taking steps to stop the flow of water through a 22-KM long tunnel into the Wullar Lake.

India, on the other hand, claims that the project, which includes buidling a dam, will help maintain better water levels in a nearby lake and regulate the flow of flood waters.

Islamabad fears the proposed dam on the Jhelum river, a tributary of the Indus, will affect water levels further downstream in the plains of its Punjab province threatening irrigation and power projects.

In the wake of inconclusive talks on water flow of Jhelum, it says that the Indian attempt to use water as a geo-strategic tool, is unfair and in contravention to the Indus Water Ttreaty, 1960.

According to Indus Water Treaty of 1960, India has been allotted exclusive control/right over the waters of the eastern rivers, namely; the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej. Pakistan controls the waters of three western rivers; the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab.

It is interesting to note that the base-source of water of all the rivers flows from the Indian side of Kashmir.

According to Pakistan, the treaty bars India from storing any water or constructing any storage works on the western rivers that would result in a reduced flow of water to Pakistan and destruction of the country’s Rabi crop.

Pakistan maintains that India, under the treaty, can store water but it cannot divert it to any other side. Thus, any diversion would violate the provisions of the treaty.

Pakistan believes Wullar barrage can be used as: (1) a geo-strategic weapon, (2) potential to disrupt the triple canal project of Pakistan, (3) badly affecting the Neelum-Jehlum hydro-power project, (4) agriculture in Pakistan Kashmir (5) drying the lands of Punjab province.The Indian side is of the view that Pakistan is not developing its hydel resources anyway and should not get so serious about its objections. (ANI)

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