The “Economist” of 11th – 17th Feb 2011 has published a special report on Pakistan which has among other topics dilated on water situation of Pakistan. The demographic map of Pakistan shows a population of 181.5 million by the end of year 2011. Punjab has 100.6 million, Sindh 44.2 million, KP 21.8 million, Balochistan 8.8 million, FATA 4.4 million and Islamabad 1.7 million people. The percentage of population is 55.43 % in Punjab, 24.35 % in Sindh, 12.01 % in KP, 4.85 % in Baluchistan, 2.42 % in FATA and 0.94 % in Islamabad. This shows the predominant position of Punjab compared to the rest of Pakistan that needs to be taken into consideration when planners make plans to develop Pakistan.
The report further states that as far as water issue is concerned the water per person has fallen from 5000 cubic meters in 1950 to 1100 meters now. As such, it is the true existential threat to Pakistan. The experts believe that Pakistan needs some megadams. While proposed Diamer Bhasha dam would provide much needed electric generation and flood control another big dam, Kalabagh, under discussion for years, may never be built because it would be in Punjab province and Sindh has objected (as also KP). Only a strong Government could take tough decisions rather than corrupt parliamentary politics. Therefore in view of above facts planners ought to beware of the pitfalls in the way of water development projects and ought to work in national interest rather than in vested ones.
DR. MUHAMMAD YAQOOB BHATTI,
Lahore, February 17.