About 40 percent of our irrigation water is wasted.
In a statement to the press, Ismael Serageldin, a former vice president of the World Bank said in August 1995, “Many of the wars of this century were about oil. Wars of the next century will be over water,” writes Paul Brown in his wonderful book, Global Warming: Can the Civilisation Survive? The World Bank has reported that 80 countries around the world are experiencing water shortages that threaten their agriculture, industry and health.
The report does not take into account the shortages yet to come as a result of climate change. The prospect of lower rainfall, high temperatures, more evaporation and more extended droughts in most of the countries already suffering water shortages, and a crisis can rapidly turn a series of disasters. Globally, regionally and within Pakistan (even in Karachi) we are facing “water wars”. Mafias are operating at all levels. Some claim global patrons. It’s high time we learnt from India’s experience, especially in terms of sustainable energy development and rain water harvesting.
Pakistan has a coastal belt longer than 1,100 kilometres. If its beaches are developed they can fetch millions of dollars in eco-tourism. We can learn in this regard from Sri Lanka that has focused on quality education and development of its beaches, thereby attracting a large number of tourists from across the world.
We need to provide quality education to our youth and focus on preserving our heritage. We also have to trust our youth.
In the serene Tharparkar desert adjoining the Indian Rajhastan we have a world heritage complex. Similarly, along the coast highway to Gawadar, there are several heritage sites and beautiful beaches. God has bestowed us with hard working and industrious people.
We are inheritors of a great civilization of which evidence is found in Mohanjo Daro, Taxila and Mehergarh. We need to educate youth well.
Pakistan has a coastal belt longer than 1,100 kilometres. If its beaches are developed, they can fetch millions of dollars in eco-tourism. We can learn from Sri Lanka that has focused on quality education and development of its beaches.
About 40 percent of our irrigation water is wasted. We need to correct this.
It is imperative that we build bridges with our neighbours as well as the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and the Central Asian Republics and focus.
We should focus on indigenous resources and human capital, instead of carrying a begging bowl to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other international finance institutions
We live in a multi-polar world. The US is no longer the sole super power.
We need to understand that instead of relying on multi-national corporations we need to trust our impoverished people. It was our labour and our technicians and engineers who built the Middle East. Sadly, we are alienating them through harsh and myopic policies.
We need to build small dams and reservoirs and focus on rain water harvesting.
We need to empower our women folk.
We need to go for drip irrigation rather than de-salination of seawater.
The Covid pandemic have killed more people were killed in most wars. A fourth wave threatens us now. Fake news, particularly fake science news, affects our population in a terrible way. We have eminent scientists besides engineers, doctors, economists, environmentalists, teachers and professors. We need to trust them.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, had a vision of a democratic welfare state of Pakistan. It’s never too late to start. We need to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them.
The writer is a journalist and peace activist. He writes on health, heritage and environment issues. He can be reached at email@example.com