FAISALABAD-Federal Republic of Somalia Ambassador Ali Sheikh Abdullahi has said that Muslim countries are blessed with tremendous natural resources but unfortunately they cannot tap the potential which is the main hurdle in the ways of its progress and prosperity.

He was talking to University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan here the other day.

The envoy also called for strengthening cooperation among the both countries especially in academia and agricultural sectors. He said that “Somalia is largely dependent on livestock and fisheries.” The areas of agriculture, veterinary, pharmacy and engineering need to be strengthened.

He sought cooperation of the University for building capacity of Somalian students in this regard.

He said that as many as 500 Somalian students were enrolled to various institutions of Pakistan including UAF at present.

Public Relations and Publications Principal Officer Dr Jalal Arif and Director External Linkages Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Chattha were also present on the occasion.

STEPS STRESSED TO AVOID WATER SCARCITY: A severe water crisis can cause devastation in the coming years if steps were not taken to sensitise people about appropriate use of water, besides increasing water storage capacity in Pakistan, warn experts.

“The country is exporting rice worth 2 billion dollar at the heavy expense of water as rice consumes 4,000 litres for 1kg production only of the commodity in the situation when Pakistan is placed in the red zone among water-scarce countries, said University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad.

He was addressing a seminar on ‘water for human development’. It was arranged by Water Management Research Centre. He said, “Water crisis is deepening. In this scenario, it is the need of the hour to focus water-efficient crops. The per capita water availability has reached to 1,000 cubic metre compared to 5,000 cubic metre availability in 1947. It is also a matter of concern that the country was importing pulse and edible oil worth 4 billion dollar. If we become self-reliant in edible oil, we can save huge money.”

The vice chancellor said the canal system gave life to many areas including Faisalabad which has become industrial hub of the country. Otherwise, before the canal system, it was wearing a deserted look.

The seminar was also addressed by WMRC Director Dr Allah Bakhsh, Dr Amna Khan from Mehboobul Haq Human Development Centre LUMS, Umar Ikahlaq Malik, Nazam Maqbool and others.

Dr Allah Bakhsh said that along with surface water, ground storage water must be increased. “We are pumping heavy ground water with the use of the tube wells,” he said. He also suggested setting up of a mechanism of recycling the water for making it re-useable. He stressed a need for improving the sanitation facilities across the country.

Amina Khan said that water had not been top of policy agenda in the South Asia. She said that water was one of the critical areas for achieving the sustainable development goals. She said that mixture of policy interventions and civil society actions can determine the path for reducing the water and sanitation crisis. She said that impact of climate changes is threat for the people well being in South Asia by affecting water resources.

Umar Ikhlaq called for creating pricing mechanism on the water. He said that 40 percent of the surface water is wasted. He also called for modern methods of conserving the water in agriculture. He said that in South Asia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are facing severe threat of water shortage. Nazam Maqbool said that the climate change is resulting in meting down the glaciers, raising the alarm bell regarding acute water shortage after a couple of decades.