Islamabad - Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan said Monday that Pakistan will swiftly retaliate in case India violates Indus Waters Treaty.

“If India tries to use Indus Waters Treaty as weapon, answer from Pakistan will be swift as we will defend our sovereignty,” the minister said while speaking at a conference on “Water Crisis: An Imminent Danger to Pakistan’s Stability” organised by Pakistan House here.

Omar Ayub said there was dire need to utilise water carefully as water reservoirs’ storage capacity was fast depleting. Availability of water was so important for life and fresh water was becoming scarce commodity across the world, he added.

The minister said investment in water resources would help enhance country’s GDP one per cent. Unfortunately, he maintained, no work was carried out on construction of dams after Tarbela and Mangla and no big dam was commissioned after 1960.

He said the government was actively working on a plan to harness water resources in the country in order to add 18,000 -20,000 MW hydel generation to the system.

Country’s power capacity to be enhanced to 55,000MW by 2030

He said currently the country’s total installed capacity stood at over 31,000 MW and it would be enhanced to 55,000MW by 2030.

Omar Ayub said, “Floating solar panels are being installed at Tarbela, Mangla, Ghazi Barotha, Khanpur reservoirs and along canals. These will not only help reduce water evaporation but also generate electricity,” he added.

The minister said as many as 8000MW electricity clean and environment Renewable Energy (RE) would be added to the system by 2025 and 20,000 MW till 2030.

He said the past PML-N government shelved RE project mere to pave way for setting up expensive R-LNG power projects.

Later, taking to media persons, the minister said RE draft policy was framed unanimously after consultation with all provinces.

He said the secretary energy Sindh government supported the RE draft policy during Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) meeting. The cabinet has also approved the RE Policy 2019 and now it would come in Council of Common Interests (CCI). The policy is aimed at reducing electricity prices in the country, he added.

Replying to a query, the minister said the circular debt was around Rs 850 billion and its flow has been reduced to Rs 10-11 billion from Rs39 billion per month.

He expressed the hope that the circular debt would be zero by December 2020.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Meteorologist of Pakistan Muhammad Riaz Ahmed said climatic changes had deep impact over water resources in Pakistan. He expressed fear that rise in temperature could aggravate water crisis in future.

He said construction of more water reservoirs were need of the hour for meeting country’s future water demand.