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February 4, 2020

Modi govt looks to breach water accord with Pakistan

National

February 4, 2020

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: file

Following the abrogation of Article 370, the Indian government has stepped up efforts to breach the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), for paving way to construct dams on water flowing into Pakistan.

The Indian diplomats have started quietly lobbying likeminded UN members. In this behalf, Delhi is circulating a draft stating that it needs to act on several options including construction of new dams in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) to counter environmental impacts of climate change including fog in its neighbouring countries.

On the condition of anonymity several sources who have seen the draft told the author that India is very cleverly pushing its narrative by suggesting that since IOK is now converted into Union territory it has every right to use its water rivers flowing into Pakistan despite not to do so under Indus Water Accord made with Pakistan through the World Bank.

Indian lobbyists in Washington have also engaged a number of democratic and republican congressmen to forestall any possible negative reaction once the draft is made public. At the moment many democrat congressmen and some republicans are very critical of human rights violations in IOK by India.

The Indian pretext is to check global warming and deteriorating air quality including smog in Pakistan, and other regional countries. Where most of the smog has been in seven Indian cities, India successfully propagated through international media including Bloomberg that Lahore is the world’s worst city in terms of air quality with thick fogs of smog.

The strategy is two prong: first, to build dams storing water and cutting supply of water flow to Pakistan and, second, to open the gates when water levels in proposed dams from glassier are about to burst flooding Pakistan causing havoc and destruction all around, according to the sources.

“In the aftermath of abrogating the Article 370 of IOK, it will be argued that since it is India’s internal issue to utilise water flowing from IOK, Delhi is under no obligation to respect IWT.”

Indian diplomats are quietly lobbying other UN members through an informal draft not yet made public by Delhi.

This is going to have serious repercussions for Pakistan that India has moved from conventional warfare to mental manipulation i.e. 5th generation hybrid warfare, to now breach of water accord about to strangulate around 200 million people.

As the world's most water stressed country, Pakistan uses 95 percent water for agriculture with 60 % of its population directly dependent for livelihood on agriculture and livestock. Of Pakistan’s 80 percent of exports comes from these sectors.

Not only Indian diplomats but also Delhi-supported anti-Pakistan lobbies are working overdrive at different levels of the US government to defame Islamabad.

But patriotic Pakistanis and Pakistani interests and community at large have disconnect to stand up to propaganda and fake news from the region hence struggling to win the battle of narratives for Pakistan.

Water is such a vital issue for Pakistan that we owe to our coming generations to come out of this hibernation and defeat India’s design to breach Indus Water Treaty at any pretext. It should be Pakistani redline to let hell gates open if Delhi manipulates our share of water flowing into Pakistan. Period.

The writer is a geopolitical analyst, a politician from Balochistan, and ex-adviser to the Balochistan government on media and strategic communication. He remained associated with BBC World Service. He is also Chairman of Centre for Geo-Politics & Balochistan