Dr. John (Jack) Shroder, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography and Geology, University of Nebraska at Ohama, has said that Pakistan, which is upper as well as lower riparian of western Kunar and Chitral rivers, which fall into Kabul River, should work on Afghanistan and help it in establishing irrigation network but also develop dams on these rivers in Chitral to generate electricity through run-of-river projects instead of India entering in and just doing the opposite what New Delhi had been doing as upper riparian in Kashmir.
Professor Shroder was speaking at a half-day workshop on ‘Water issues of Pakistan’ organised by Department of Anthropology, Quaid-i-Azam University, at the Conference Hall of Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, here on Thursday. Dr Eitzaz Ahmad, Dean Social Sciences, was in the chair.
Professor Shorder said that India is developing irrigation system and hydel power station on Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers as well as their tributaries. It would put a lot of pressure on Pakistan as we all know this is a century of water disputes.
He said that Afghan President Karzai is inclined towards India and was only interested in drainage of dirty water in Kabul and Jalalabad and once initiated, negotiations between Pakistan and Afghan official were sabotaged by just halting the process facilitated by the World Bank and showed preference to talk and redraw the Durand Line. He said that World Bank indicated not to give a penny in the wake of such a policy. He indicated that Pakistan has a leverage of being upper-riparian in case of River Chitral and can suggest that they are planning to develop flow of the river hydel project and thus is “in a better negotiating position.”
Professor Shroder said that engineers, scientists and technical persons should negotiate water issues of Pakistan with Afghanistan to initiate this process for mutual benefit. He also reiterated that water would be a big issue in this century so it is time to engage in regional solutions by involving upstream and basin countries into bilateral and multilateral negotiations with all the neighbouring countries including India with international mediation.
Professor Nasrullah Mirza from the DSS Department, QAU, in his presentation, recommended mediation to solve the mutual disputes including Kashmir so that the region can harness enormous potential for the generation of hydro-power sufficient to cater for the energy needs of the whole region. He said that a promising investment opportunity in the Indus Basin could act as an incentive for an interested mediator. He said that Kashmir and water issues can reach a “mutually hurting-stalemate” where the countries will feel necessary to find some compromise in this respect.
He suggested that both the issues can be tackled through bilateral negotiations which included a Permanent Indus Commission and a Kashmir Commission to restore the Indus river system’s co-riparian status in their original river beds and streams and conduct joint research and planning, he concluded.
Responding a query, Professor Shroder said that Pakistan should keep in its calculations expected rainfall, deposition of snow on mountains in winter and expected temperatures and snow melting rate in spring and summer to predict water flows in its rivers so that it can reduce storage in its water reservoirs and dams accordingly.