Politics amidst national disasters agonizing, says Rehman Malik

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior and former Interior Minister Senator A. Rehman Malik has expressed his concerns over exchange of political statements on flood and has urged all politicians to stop playing politics on natural disasters at the cost of their own poor masses.
He said, “I am worried to see the way politics is being played on floods where the governments, both the federal and provincial levels are fighting on percentage sharing.†He said that the federal government represents the state and the state is the mother which has to look after each and every citizen of the land.
He expressed that Prime Minister Imran Khan should have been more tactful and gracious in working with Chief Minister Sindh, and CM Sindh should also have cooperated for the sake of the people of Karachi adding the media teams on both sides are fighting like kids.
He said that it looks as if both sides’ media teams are indulging in competition where they are winning at the cost of the public of Karachi who are already crushed with ethnic and poverty storms. He wished that his observations shall be taken positively as Karachi is his city too.
He appealed to fellow politicians to stop playing politics on floods and other natural disasters at the cost of your own poor masses. He advised that both federal and provincial governments should sit with the map of Pakistan, analyse past destruction of the floods and design ways to channel flood water by creating channels based on surveys and hold this water in dams in all provinces.
Chairman Senate Body on Interior suggested that the water board should be converted into Water Board Authority which should be empowered with adequate funding to manage the flood water and river water in such a way that each and every drop of water falls in the sea should be used for agriculture to enhance our agricultural proceeds.
He expressed that Pakistan continue to face water scarcity every year because of the inability of authorities to properly use and manage these water resources for socioeconomic and environmental sustainability. He said “Pakistan receives 145 million-acre feet of water every year but only 14m acre-feet of water are preserved and we can meet the shortage if we have proper storage of rainwater and floodwater.â€
Senator A. Rehman Malik announces that soon he will move a bill on “The Flood Control Act†in order to store rainwater throughout the country, fixing the responsibility on concerned authorities. Regarding Indian Water Terrorism against Pakistan, he said that on one hand, we are facing water scarcity due to floods and poor water management while on the other, we are also facing water terrorism from India as it wants to either stop and block our share of water with ulterior motives when we need it, or release extra water into our rivers to increase the flow causing floods in Pakistan and we know that both of these are dangerous for Pakistan. He said that since we are dependent on India for water, Indian PM Narendra Modi, by blocking water, wants to deprive Pakistan of water to convert our country into a desert as Modi is following a full-fledged anti-Pakistan agenda.
Chairman Senate Body on Interior said that India has worked out that the one of the national key quotients is water and hence, India will continue to block water flow from India to Pakistan. He added that PM Modi had already thrown the first water bomb on Pakistan in 2018 by blocking our legitimate natural watercourse. He said that India had completed its construction of Kishanganga hydropower project on the Neelam River by diverting the watercourse through a 16 km tunnel, which is a clear violation of the Indus Water Treaty between the two countries.
He said that the construction of Kishanganga Dam is also in violation of Article III (4) of the Indus Water Treaty, which places an obligation or restriction on India not to construct any similar projects on western rivers, that is, on Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. Also, the construction of the Kishanganga project will adversely affect the Neelum-Jhelum project, as its power generation capacity will be reduced radically. He said that in accordance with Article III (2) of Indus Water Treaty, India is also prohibited from developing any human made obstructions that shall have or may cause a change in the volume of the natural flow of western rivers.
Senator A. Rehman Malik said that Pakistan needs to bring an enactment/bill or a “Rainfall Act†to get water related activities and issues regulated as a national priority. He said that he predicts that the next wars will be over Sweet Water. He stressed, “I wish our defence sector takes initiatives to take help of our soldiers to develop these water channels during peacetime with the help of the local public on a volunteer basis.â€