Monday June 17, 2024

Bilawal blames Centre for depriving Sindh of water share

By Asim Yasin
May 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has criticised the PTI-led federal government's actions to deprive the Sindh province of its rightful share of water and artificially creating a water crisis.

Bilawal said Prime Minister Imran Khan was overseeing a brutal campaign against the people of Sindh, as there were water shortage in the province during the whole month of Ramazan, adding the federal government didn’t do anything to resolve the crisis of water on Eidul Fitr. “The puppet prime minister and his government have artificially created a water crisis in Sindh and it would have serious repercussions,” he warned the PTI government through a statement on Sunday. Bilawal pointed out that the acute water crisis had badly affected the province, adding that Karachi, Thatta, Badin, Sujawal and Tharparkar are all facing water shortages. He said the Indus River System Authority (IRSA), which was mandated to ensure a smooth water supply based on the 1991 Water Accord, was blatantly and illegally depriving Sindh of up to 20 percent of its water supply.

Deploring the role of IRSA, he demanded that it strictly adhere to their mandate and ensure that Sindh receive its due share immediately. “The IRSA officials will have to explain on whose orders they have been depriving Sindh of its due share of water, and on whose nefarious agenda they are converting Sindh's fertile lands into a desert,” he said. He urged the other provinces to follow Sindh and implement effective plans to better distribute water to all Pakistanis.

He pointed out that Sindh had helped ease Balochistan's water woes by releasing water from the Guddu Barrage despite the ongoing acute water crisis in Sindh. “All parts of Pakistan should continue to get water as per the agreed schedule of the water supply formula," he said.

The PPP chairman said if any province is being deprived of its constitutional right, then this act will only weaken the Federation. Mentioning the controversial Chashma-Jhelum Canal, he pointed out that even today, it was stealing 2,000 cusecs of Sindh's share of water.

He also demanded that IRSA must not issue an NoC for setting up power plants on the Panjnad and Chashma-Jhelum link canals. Doing so would only allow IRSA and the government to keep water canals open throughout the year and it would further deprive Sindh and Balochistan of their constitutional share of water, he said.

“Even the controversial spring Jhelum Link Canal should only be opened when the release of water is required to Kotri downstream,” he said. Bilawal said water had been continuously released from Tarbela Dam, delaying necessary maintenance till February, and leaving Tarbela Dam unfilled despite heavy showers. Drawing attention to the rice harvesting season, he asked the prime minister to explain his "ulterior motives" for depriving Sindh of its due water needs at this time.