In my previous article I wrote that in order to gain confidence of people, the government must immediately begin to implement reform packages to meet the urgent economic needs of Pakistan. Instead the nation has been greeted with a sorry declaration that "Kalabagh Dam stands shelved for good." The decision to abandon KBD is a disaster and the future will prove this, albeit unfortunately to the detriment of our children. I think the government has succumbed to pressures and unwittingly or otherwise detonated the Water Bomb (as put by Mr Majid Nizami) onto itself. Majority of Pakistanis however hope that once the full implications of this are realised and the irreparable loss to Pakistan's economy and agriculture is assessed, the government will have the wisdom and courage to reverse this judgement. Although no ruler, not even Musharraf with all his powers as a military ruler, had the political will to take the first step towards constructing KBD, yet no government even threw in the towel either, which meant that at least the possibility of the reservoir being built in some form or the other to meet the energy and water crises of the country was kept alive. KBD's shelving is the culmination of conspiracy hatched 61 years ago on the eve of August 11, 1947 to deprive Punjab and therefore Pakistan of its rightful share in the waters which were supposed to flow through this land. I am sure the government would not like to be the one to bring this plot to its final conclusion. Punjab, the land of Five Rivers, in 1947 was agriculturally the most developed province of India with a wide network of rivers, headworks and canals. The principle of the Two Nation Theory upon which Pakistan was created did not envisage a divided Punjab. For Jinnah and his Muslim League, it was crucial for Pakistan's survival that Punjab remained undivided, primarily because its fertile soil would meet the future food and agricultural needs of the new country. It was equally important to ensure the free flow of water from India through Punjab and Sindh equivalent to its share. Although Jinnah's relentless resistance forced Nehru's Congress to accept Pakistan's independence, they never intended it to be permanent but contrived to make it so unviable as to force it to come back into the folds of united India, and hence fulfil Nehru's dream. It was to this end that the Congress first laid down a condition to the acceptance of partition that Punjab and Bengal would itself also be further divided amongst the two emerging countries. To Jinnah a divided Punjab meant a "moth eaten" Pakistan which was not acceptable. Jinnah also knew that a divided Bengal with Calcutta going to Indian union meant that the remaining part of Bengal would be left a poor and devastated area. Jinnah was therefore willing to welcome a third country, Bangladesh, rather than have Bengal divided. Stanley Wolport in his book Shameful Flight writes that when Mountbatten asked Jinnah "'What he thought of the proposal to create a separate sovereign Bengal' expecting him to be shocked...much to Mountbatten's surprise Jinnah calmly replied 'I should be delighted'. 'What is the use of Bengal without Calcutta. They have much better remained united and independent'; 'I am sure they would be on friendly terms with us'." Jinnah continued to resist the division but the conspirators, particularly the combination of Mountbatten, Nehru and Congress leaders, won the day. In doing so, he carried out the "surgery" in such a hasty manner that instead of avoiding bloodshed, caused great and unnecessary human suffering. It was in pursuit of the agenda to give Jinnah a "moth eaten" Pakistan that attempts were made to ensure that control of water supplies to Punjab and rest of Pakistan remained, so far as possible, in India's hands. After dividing Punjab and Bengal, the next trickery was the redrawing of the border between East and West Punjabs. Radcliffe, the British lawyer appointed to finalise the boundary line, had prepared, what is known to history as the "Original Punjab Award" in which the Tehsils of Ferozepur, Zira and Fazilka were within the boundaries of Pakistani Punjab. However Ferozepur District going to Pakistan meant that Ferozepur headwork, which controlled some 7,000,000 acres of cropland in West Punjab, would remain under control of Pakistan. Nehru then used his substantial connections with Mountbatten and his wife, Edwina, to ensure that the Original Punjab Award was changed to take out Ferozepur Tehsil from West Punjab and given to India. In fact Mountbatten on August 11, 1947 pressurised the Radcliffe to change Ferozepur segment. The least which could have been done to protect the legitimate rights of Pakistan was to draw up an agreement between India and Pakistan to ensure continued flow of post-partition water shares. Pakistani politicians are also to blame because instead of trying to procure any award from the arbitrate tribunal on the issue of water shares, they kept pulling the rug from under each other. On April 01, 1948 India closed the canals leaving Pakistan stunned. Indian government refused to accept Pakistan's pleas or to come to an agreement on water sharing. Ghulam Muhammad, then Finance Minister, appealed to Mountbatten, who also consulted with Nehru. The outcome was that on May 04, 1948 a "statement" was placed before the Pakistani delegation "to sign it without changing a word or a comma, as a condition precedent, for restoring the flow of water." Pakistan was forced to sign on a dotted line and as a result water was not restored to all the Pakistani canals, which eventually turned a great deal of land in Punjab to barren waste. India however then committed another volte-face and insisted that proprietary rights in waters of rivers in East Punjab vested wholly in the East Punjab government and proposed that the flow of river Sutlej should be left for exclusive use by India. At the same time India embarked upon a massive programme of building new irrigation projects and dams. Pakistan was now facing imminent threat of losing huge tracks of cultivable lands in Punjab and Sindh. Eventually World Bank was forced to step in to settle the dispute whose proposal led to the Indus Water Treaty being signed in 1960 under which waters from Sutlej, Beas and Ravi were for the exclusive use by India and waters from the western rivers i.e. Chenab, Jehlum and Indus were usable exclusively by Pakistan. The Treaty proved to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, India's exclusive use of the 3 rivers meant that millions of acres of Pakistan's agricultural land became desert waste. However on the other hand, Pakistan was held entitled to receive funds for and build Mangla, Tarbela and KBD. The construction of each one of these 3 dams was of the essence, because otherwise loss of 3 rivers would have been too great for Pakistan. Everyone knew that the reservoirs at Mangla and Tarbela Dams would be losing storage capacity and as such KBD, which is economically a more feasible project given its natural geography, was an integral and key part of Pakistan's counter strategy to meet India's growing dominance over Pakistan's waters. Unfortunately this dream was never achieved and ironically India did not need to do anything more because Pakistanis became their own worst enemy. KBD became hostage to politics and inter-provincial jealousies. It wrongly, and for no fault of Punjab, became an "anti-punjabi issue" and was used by certain nationalist parties in the other provinces as a symbol of "Punjabi dominance" whenever they felt like indulging in Punjabi bashing. Punjabis had sacrificed most on this issue, by being divided and losing the rights to its waters. All key points in favour of KBD have been ignored. Populations in Sindh and NWFP were made to believe that they would lose land and water for the benefit of the Punjabis whereas nothing can be further from the truth, as what is intended to be done is to save the wastage of the water to the sea and in fact it is Sindh land which will benefit the most. While we were fighting about not building KBD, India has been constantly constructing various hydropower plants even in occupied Jammu and Kashmir state in violation of the Treaty. This includes Tulbal Navigation Lock on Jehlum, Salal on Chenab River and now also more at Baglihar on Chenab. India has also begun construction of another dam at Neelam River (Kishan Ganga). It is estimated that India plans to build more than 24 further dams on these rivers. At the same time a huge amount of surplus water is just flowing into the sea every day. A most serious repercussion of the announcement of abandonment of course is that now India will, as a matter of international law, be able to successfully advance an argument to amend the Indus Water Treaty on the ground that water being a scarce resource is the sovereign right of every country, and since Pakistan is letting 38MAF of river water go to waste, this wastage can be saved by India through building more dams on the Indus Waters and using the saved waters for its own territories. Mr Bashir A Malik in his book Indus Water Treaty in Retrospect has rightly noted, "This could be the greatest tragedy that ever has fallen on a nation." I demand from the government that even if it is not interested for the time being in building KBD, it should reverse the announcement and leave the matter to be decided by our future generations or else KBD will die for all times to come. Pakistan will be left waterless and India will simply step in and acquire the right to build its own KBD. Should we take away the right to achieve a consensus on this matter from the future parliaments? The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan E-mail: