ONE obvious reason why New Delhi has so easily been able to wrong-foot us on the water dispute is because of our laid-back attitude and docility. While the leadership at the top is in a state of denial, evident from Foreign Minister Qureshis apologetic posturing during the recent round of talks with India, the role played by Indus Water Commissioner Syed Jamaat Ali Shah leaves much to be desired. No doubt, he has warned that the construction of Kishanganga dam on river Jhelum, which would divert water to Wullar lake, would seriously affect the flow of water downstream and reduce 15 percent of Pakistans total energy generation capacity. But this warning should have been made earlier. He has said that if neutral experts are appointed, it would take at least six months to set up an international court of arbitration. What was he doing all this time while the Indians were trying to exact a heavy toll on our economy? Wasnt 2008, when Baglihar dam cut off 200,000 acre-feet of water and caused a severe food crisis the right time to take up the matter to the international court? The Indian obduracy on Kishanganga and scores of other dams in contravention of the Indus Waters Treaty needs to be challenged on all available fronts. We can also counter it by building mega-water reservoirs of our own, which could inevitably help cope with the drought like conditions. But the pity is that no one seems to be realizing this. This worrying picture must have provoked Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to talk about Kalabagh dam, but again he stopped short of highlighting its importance, except for saying in hushed tones that it would only be counterproductive if built without consensus. However, leaders of Mian Shahbazs stature should not be merely saying this; they should be working to bring it about. The moment responsible politicians start speaking in its favour, a key step to snub the troublemaking opponents and pave the way for its construction will have been taken.