THE Prime Minister has called for a meeting of the four provinces plus the Ministry of Water and Power to restructure IRSA and resolve the water-sharing problem amongst the four provinces. The tussle for resource distribution continues amongst the provinces despite a consensual NFC Award and nowhere is this tussle more bitter than over the precious resource of water. The water-governing body IRSA was reconstituted by the present government in a manner which gave Sindh an additional vote (with the deferral member also belonging to Sindh) and so far there has been no agreement on the distribution of water. The present crisis has erupted over the opening of the Chashma Jhelum Link Canal by the Acting Chief of IRSA and has led to the resignation of two IRSA members. Sindh claims this opening of the CJ Link Canal has been done despite the opposition from both Sindh and Balochistan and the Sindh CM has called for the resignation of the Acting Chief of IRSA plus the re-closure of the CJ Canal. In fact, it is unfortunate that the Sindh ruling party members have immediately upped the political temperature, ensuring that resolution of the issue will become that much more difficult. The fact of the matter is that Sindh has tended to use political clout to consistently deny especially southern Punjab of its due water share. If the CJ Canal had not been opened the whole cotton belt of southern Punjab would have been devastated because whenever Punjabs share of water has been diverted to Sindh, it is southern Punjab that has tended to suffer and no one has really taken up the cause of injustice being done to this underdeveloped part of Punjab. Presently IRSA had already given out that the water level in the canals and dams had risen. So if Punjab is being given its due share, it is only correct - or if there is a question mark over this, it hardly serves anyones purpose to politicise an issue that needs a technical resolution. In the NFC Award, Punjab adopted a conciliatory approach and conceded ground on many counts to rid the rest of the country of the notion that Punjab gets more than its due share of resources. However, this does not mean that Punjab should unilaterally continue to give up its rights simply to appease the excessive demands of other provinces on a crucial resource like water. So while there was national appreciation of CM Punjabs compromising role in the NFC Award - which was necessary to bring some healing amongst the provinces - it is equally necessary for him to take a fair but strong position to safeguard Punjabs water share. That is why his unambiguous statement that he would not compromise on Punjabs water share just as he would not usurp another provinces share is a welcome step. Let us hope the Prime Minister can steer the provincial leaders away from the debilitating political grandstanding and move to a technically-based formula for resolving this crucial resource distribution issue so that no province feels victimised and no group of farmers suffers.