It is most dismaying to hear expert after expert lamenting the sale of three rivers to India. The choices before Pakistan at the time when the Indus Water Basin Treaty was signed were (a) go to war with India (b) let the whole of south Punjab and parts of north Sindh remain barren for twelve long years from 1948 till 1960 (c) to purchase water for the interim period and go in arbitration to the World Bank. The treaty certainly was not the ironclad treaty Pakistan wanted. Among other guarantees, Pakistan wanted to retain a part in the eastern rivers. But India had the possession, which is nine-tenth of the law. That is how the World Bank saw it. Nothing Pakistan could do about it. Are agreements ever perfect? Was the division of Punjab perfect? In fact, it was the control of our canal headworks given to India along with an all-weather passage to Srinagar that is the root cause of all our present troubles. Yet, the Quaid had to accept a most unsatisfactory partition plan perforce. It should also be remembered that the Pakistan delegation at the end of two years did not accept the treaty and returned from Washington in 1957. It was Ayub Khan who signed the treaty in 1960 three years later, taking it to be the only option available. -KHURSHID ANWER, Lahore, via e-mail, July 14.