This is with reference to the open letter from Engr Suleiman Najib Khan. Reduction in river flows is as dangerous as reduction in reservoir capacity. In our total preoccupation with the first danger, we are totally ignoring the second danger. Other than one or two experts very few people know of what is actually happening across the border, how much of what India is doing is actually illegal, the rest is all hearsay. Overkill in such a sensitive matter may prove to be counterproductive. There is a whole ministry dealing with the issue. One can only hope that the authorities know what they are doing. If they don’t, then we are in real trouble, but not much we can do about it. On the other hand no dam has been built for the last 25 years since the issue was politicised. This is a calamity about which very little is being said. Kalabagh dam will never be built if we do not address this issue. It will not be built even if India stops its purported meddling. It will not be built because of the opposition from all the people of Sindh and from Benazir’s followers in Punjab, whatever their percentage. This is where we can do something. Tell the people that it is only Kalabagh dam which can help to build up our reservoir capacity in time to save Pakistan from becoming a desert; 20 million acres remain to be irrigated while many acres are becoming barren every day; tell them what will happen if we keep losing reservoir capacity at the present rate; there will be no transfer from the Kharif to the Rabi period; Pakistan will be left with only one sowing season; tell them what water scarcity will mean for the country; tell them why we must have adequate contingency reserves. This is what the seminars should be about. If this is not done we are doomed irrespective of what India does on our rivers. Pakistan just cannot survive with only two dams. Bhasha dam will be too little too late, at best only a replacement for Mangla and Tarbela dams.


Lahore, March 12.