While experts stress on the need of concluding a treaty that can determine the shares of Afghanistan and Pakistan, both states have not officially engaged on the sustainable use of the Kabul River water. In a seminar held in the University of Peshawar, experts gathered on Wednesday urged both sides to draft an agreement on water usage rights of both countries to avoid any future conflicts.

The River Kabul can turn out another irritant between the two states’ ties as Kabul is planning of constructing hydropower projects on Kabul River. Experts fear that the construction of these projects will disturb the ecology of the region. As a result of the hydropower projects, the flow of River Kabul will deplete on entering in Pakistan that will harm the agriculture of Pakistan, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

It is high time for both the states to lay out a formula on water distribution of River Kabul. The cliché in vogue says that future wars will be fought over water resources. One cannot deny this possibility. Nevertheless, what was encouraging were the words of reassurance by Moeen Marastial. Pakistan should take full advantage of Mr Marastial words that government in Kabul was ready for negotiation with Pakistan on water issues.

The ball is Pakistan’s court given that Afghanistan is willing to cooperate. It is an opportunity not to miss. Considering that Kabul River plays a key role in irrigating the lands in Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera and adjacent areas, Pakistan needs to reach out a formula with Afghanistan on equitable distribution of shared water resources according to the principles laid out in Helsinki Rules on the Uses of Waters of International Rivers, 1966 and the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, 1997. Failure to gain benefits from the offer will be a repetition of the mistake that Pakistan had made over its shared water resources with India.