ISLAMABAD    -   Former Interior Minister Senator Rehman Malik on Wednesday expressed concerns over exchange of political statements on flood and urged all politicians to stop playing politics on natural disasters at the cost of their own poor masses. 

In a statement, Rehman Malik 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.” 

Senator Malik, who is also the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior, said the federal government represented the state and the state was the mother which has to look after each and every citizen of the land. 

He said 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 were fighting like kids. 

Malik 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 poor masses. 

The lawmaker advised that both federal and Sindh 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.  

He 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 said, “Pakistan continue to face water scarcity every year because of inability of authorities to properly use and manage water resources for socio-economic and environmental sustainability.” He said, “Pakistan receives 145 million-acre feet of water every year but only 14m acre-feet of water is preserved and we can meet the shortage if we have proper storage of rainwater and floodwater.”

Senator Rehman Malik announced that soon he would 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, Senator Rehman Malik said 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, “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.” 

Rehman Malik said that India had worked out that one of the national key quotients was water and hence, India would continue to block water flow from India to Pakistan. He said that PM Modi had already thrown first water bomb on Pakistan in 2018 by blocking our legitimate natural watercourse. 

He said India had completed construction of Kishanganga hydropower project on the Neelam River by diverting the watercourse through a 16 km tunnel, which was a clear violation of the Indus Water Treaty between the two countries. 

Malik said construction of Kishanganga Dam was also in violation of Article III (4) of the Indus Water Treaty, which placed an obligation or restriction on India not to construct any similar projects on western rivers i.e Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. 

Also, he said, construction of Kishanganga project would adversely affect the Neelum-Jhelum project, as its power generation capacity would be reduced radically. He said in accordance with Article III (2) of Indus Water Treaty, India was 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 Malik said that Pakistan needed to bring an enactment/bill or a “Rainfall Act” to get water related activities and issues regulated as a national priority. He predicted that the next wars would be over ‘sweet water.’ 

He said: “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.”