THERE is no disputing Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif's bold assertion that since New Delhi has cut off Pakistan's share of the Indus waters as part of its hegemonic designs, we must talk about the matter eyeball to eyeball. He also rightly stated that our agriculture has suffered greatly on account of this water theft. The CM knows well that the economy and livelihood of thousands of families in Sindh and Punjab, whose only bread and butter is agriculture, are doomed to destruction if New Delhi goes on indefinitely blocking the water flowing into Pakistan. On the other hand, former head of ISI General Hamid Gul, speaking at a seminar organised by Nazria-i-Pakistan Trust, has shown another motive behind India's machinations. He maintained that water was essential for our economy but stressed that it was equally important for the country's defence as well. He got it right by pointing to the Chenab canal network as the first line of defence, without which the country's conventional defence was impossible. It is really good to know that more and more voices are joining the chorus in blowing a whistle on India. However, the onus lies on the federal government to seriously raise the issue, most of which is about building pressure on New Delhi to behave like a lawful state. The World Bank should also be asked to step in as being the third party in the Indus Waters Treaty. It is its duty to ensure that there is no violation of the accord. The Indian water theft is now turning us into an agricultural wasteland. The phenomenon of desertification has picked up pace and has claimed vast tracts of cultivated lands. Farmers are in a virtual catch-22 situation as they do not know where to get water for their crops. For the past two years, among others, our wheat crop has been the biggest casualty of the Indian diversion of water. What is really chilling is the fact that the glaciers, our main source of fresh water, are melting at an alarmingly fast pace because of the effects of global warming. Consequently, the supply to the domestic sector has been reduced. The tube wells have to be dug much deeper but still the water is brackish. New Delhi is deftly exploiting this situation through scores of dams. Its cunning designs can be gauged from the fact that it has ganged up with the Karzai government and is currently building a dam on River Kabul as well. Unfortunately, we continue to make light of the danger ahead by not only keeping silent but also delaying the construction of dams like the Kalabagh. Are we not inviting our own disaster?