Pakistan misleading people on Indus Water Treaty
Indus Water Treaty: Politicisation will only harm Pakistan
In the run up to the Foreign Secretary level talks in end February, many Pakistan news analysts went ballistic over the river waters issue relating the Indus Water Treaty of 1960.
The Pakistani Times of 27th February alleged that India is stealing twenty percent of water from Pakistani Rivers and that Chenab is the worst victim. It also said that India is building a hydro electric project on River Kabul using Pakistani waters!
Sajjad Shaukat of Pakistani Observer of 27th February accused India of practising "water terrorism" against Pakistan.
Amidst all this hysteria, the News International of Pakistan did point out that the political and military leadership as well as the conservative sections of the media raised enough hue and cry in trying to project water as the real bone of contention. It continued, that if indeed this trend continues, it will be no surprise that in due course Pakistan may push Kashmir into the background and project India’s water terrorism to counter India’s charges against Pakistan for supporting terrorism across the border as the primary issue.
The Special report of the News International had brought some sanity into the issue and had many valid points that have been lost in the rhetoric and irrational hysteria that have accompanied in analysing the Indus Water Treaty. The points made were 1. The Indus Water Treaty has worked both for Pakistan and India and has survived three wars and many incidents of terrorist violence and the hearty news was that the water commissioners of both countries of IWT met within six months of the most recent Mumbai attack.
2. As the agricultural and energy needs as well as population are on the rise and with water becoming scarce because of inefficient use, waste and climate change, a distinction was then drawn between the letter and spirit of the agreement
3. Whenever India started building a run of the river dam on one of the rivers meant for Pakistan and allowed under the treaty, Pakistan policy makers got "jittery"and feared that Indian control of Pakistan’s water would harm its economy.
4. Instead of building on the strength of the IWT and ensure net gains both sides have picked up water as a "dividing tool." The points made are very valid. Instead of politicising the issue, there is a need to build up rather than seek a fresh agreement. Given the traditional and historic rivalries, the geographical position, greater dependence on irrigated agriculture, failure to make optimum use of a resource that is bound to progressively reduce and above all given the fact that despite wars India has stood by the Indus Water Treaty, there is an need for Pakistan to go for the spirit rather than the letter of the treaty. The more one politicises the issue in Pakistan the chances are that Pakistan will lose more in the bargain.
Some of the articles that followed in the News International show the concerns of Pakistan and right or wrong the concerns appear to be genuine I give below some of the concerns and my response. 1. Pakistan has never convincingly argued that not withstanding bilateral commitment under IWT, India has an obligation to preserve water in its catchment areas for the benefit of lower riparian usage under international laws. The IWT follows the basic principle of equitable distribution of water between two users and it will be a different ball game if the IWT is to be ignored and other international agreements are to be followed. As said before, the IWT is a unique document that has stood the test of time. There is no doubt that there is a responsibility of the upper riparian to ensure the free flow of water from the catchment areas which means that the upper riparian is responsible for ensuring that there is no man made degradation of the catchment area. But if one were to improve and develop the catchment area for the benefit of the lower riparian, the costs will have to be borne by the lower riparian- here Pakistan. 2. So far Pakistan has put only the IWT on the table but it is necessary to put along the same table a stack of material. Legal references, conventions that place additional obligations of India so that the lower riparian is entitled to proper share of water.
It is true that proper study of the river water issues has not been made in Pakistan. It is good that other international agreements are studied in depth rather than complaining that "India is stealing the water." Only then will Pakistan understand the benefit that they are enjoying under the IWT. To me it looks that the IWT goes much beyond the conventional laws and regulations on trans boundary rivers. No where in the world, the entire river systems are allowed to flow freely into another country without using them for one’s own limited benefit. 3. In an interview the Indus Water Commissioner of Pakistan has made certain observations. He said that the Indus Water Treaty has to be implemented both in letter and spirit. India should provide all information on projects that are started on rivers that are allotted to Pakistan. The issue is technical in nature but the concerns have been raised by media, taken up by the parliament and thus ultimately becomes a political one. There is no doubt that India has a responsibility to provide complete information on the projects that are being conceived and implemented on the rivers meant for Pakistan. But no where in the treaty is it mentioned that India should wait for consensus from Pakistan before starting a project. If one were to wait for consensus, it is very likely that no project can be started at all. Also there is a three-structured mechanism to resolve all differences even on projects objected to by either party. First is the regular meeting between the two Commissioners. Second is the use of a neutral expert as it happened in Bagilhar Project where India was allowed to continue the project with certain modifications suggested by the neutral expert and third is the arbitration.
4. In the same interview, the Indus Commissioner concedes that IWT allows the run of the river projects as well as the hydro electric projects, but there is no allowance for making power on Indus and selling it Mumbai.
This argument is very specious. So long as India is allowed under IWT to produce power on run of the river projects under the IWT, it should be of no concern to Pakistan, how and where the power is utilised. By the same argument India could question as to why all the power generated on the western rivers are used in Punjab and not any where else in Sind and Balochistan. Here again one sees the Politicisation of the issue! 5.Pakistan stands to lose much if the treaty is to be renegotiated. The agreement needs to be slightly altered rather than cancelled altogether. Also confronting the popular demand that India is stealing the water has been found to be incorrect because the waters have not been diverted. The issue that irks Pakistan government is the dams which must be set up according to certain designs that the waters continue to flow. That Pakistan stands to lose much if the treaty of the sharing of Indus waters is to be renegotiated is also our position. More importantly it is unrealistic to expect both countries to look at the water development as a common project devoid of political issues as envisaged by the World Bank before the Indus Water Treaty was signed and re negotiate another treaty!
The Indus Water Treaty has worked well for both the countries. Differences and disputes will arise due to increasing needs on the waters on both sides of the border and the position will get critical sooner than later when the water resources are dwindling and not increasing and the demands are much more. As said in my earlier paper there has to be a give and take and this can happen only when it is implemented both in letter and spirit and to me it appears that Pakistan will gain if it looks at the spirit of the treaty rather than on the letter. There are already many saner counsels in Pakistan and it is hoped that the Indus Water Treaty is seen more as a unique experiment in international laws on non navigational waters that needs to be implemented for mutual benefit and not renegotiated as such.
( The writer is a former hydrologist and holds a PhD on International River Systems)
Njam Sethi on Water and Kashmir
cross-posting A morning with Farah sure deseve place in WTF from Pakistan will be cross posting the same in indus water stealing thread.coz it shows how pakistani talks about without facts and figures on various issues including indus water.If this is the pakistani middle class which Nirupama Subramanian doing equal-equal with indian middle class then she is sure shorsighted.And being a Journalist she got to have facts and figure otherwise she is nothing but another DDM coz Nirupama Subramanian always tried to skirt the question by saying i ve no facts and figures so i cant comment.
Last edited by ajtr; 22-03-10 at 04:15 PM.
Farmers protest against India at Wahga border
LAHORE: Thousands of farmers staged a protest against Indian water aggression at the Wahga border near Lahore and demanded of the government to raise the issue in the UN, a private TV channel reported on Sunday. The protesters, led by the Muttahida Kisan Mahaz, reached the zero line where they staged a protest against India for blocking the water of different Pakistani rivers. Activists of various non-governmental organisations (NGO) and political parties also participated in the protest to express solidarity with the farmers. The protesters also established protest camps against stoppage of water by India in violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan and also demanded the government to raise the issue in the UN. It is pertinent to mention here that the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) is also a signatory of the
treaty as a third party. daily times monitor
Water issue a serious problem, says Shahbaz
India not ready to hold result-oriented talks’
Sunday, March 21, 2010
By our correspondent
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said a system, which can ensure equal rights to the people without any discrimination of colour, caste and creed and equitable distribution of resources, is needed.
Addressing a ceremony on Saturday, he said India was not ready to hold a result-oriented dialogue with Pakistan and that water issue had become a serious problem. In this situation, he said, they would have to forge unity and solidarity in their ranks to resolve such issues.
He said neither peace could be maintained nor investment promoted in the country without tackling the issue of terrorism.
He said poverty, unemployment, ignorance, injustice and inequitable distribution of national resources were the root causes of terrorism. He said cruelties and highhandedness perpetrated by the Musharraf regime also contributed to the growth of terrorism.
He expressed the fear that Quaid’s Pakistan would lose its real identity if dictation from abroad continued. He said if they did not rely on foreign aid, only then would they be able to talk to foreign countries boldly. He said the people of the NWFP were fighting a war of survival of the country and reshaping the history by rendering sacrifices and there was no service greater than that.
He said Pakistan was rich in resources and the nation was hardworking and imbued with the spirit of honesty and Pakistanis had achieved a commendable place abroad by dint of their hard work.
He said if complicated issues like the NFC Award could be resolved amicably, then inter-provincial disputes could also be resolved with the same sprit.
IWT is a multilateral treaty (not bilateral) involving India, Pakistan and IBRD. It was signed by Pandit Nahru, on behalf of India, FM Ayub Khan, on behalf of Pakistan and W.A.B. Iliff on behalf of IBRD. However, IBRD restricts itself to purposes specified in Articles V and X and Annexures F, G and H. IBRD is still involved in resolution of differences, though not directly. See later as to why this is an important point.
Article XII, Final Provisions, of the IWT states as follows:
(3) The provisions of this Treaty may from time to time be modified by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two Governments.
(4) The provisions of this Treaty, or the provisions of this Treaty as modified under the provisions of Paragraph (3), shall continue in force until terminated by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two Governments.
So, IWT allows both the parties to modify the existing Treaty and can only be terminated by a newly 'ratified' Treaty. There is therefore no provision of any party withdrawing unilaterally from the Treaty. In other words, the IWT does not have a provision for self-termination.
Of course, Pakistan may cite 'breaches by India of IWT provisions' to withdraw from the Treaty. But, for that it will have to have solid evidences and be prepared to take the matter to appropriate international arbitration. As of now, Pakistan has no proof of India breaching the Treaty even once, leave alone being a habitual offender whcih alone, IMHO, can form sufficient ground for Pakistan to seek extra-Treaty avenues. It will not be possible to take the matter to ICJ, the usual Pakistani fetish, for two reasons: one, the IWT itself has ample provisions for settlement of disputes and without exhausting those avenues, the ICJ may not even register the case and two, the ICJ may not be interested to take up the case after its previous ruling involving the Atlantique dispute between both these countries.
In the Atlantique shooting-down case, India successfully argued, among other things, that ICJ had no jurisdiction in matters pertaining to two members of the Commonwealth and that Independent India did not inherit any treaties that British India acceded to like the General Act of 1928.
Besides the above, India will strongly argue that the IWT, being a multilateral treaty, all the parties involved in the Treaty must also be parties to the case, a condition to which IBRD is not likely to subject itself to.
I do not therefore see any possibility of Pakistan taking the matter to any other arbitration. If Pakistan therefore withdraws from IWT, that should simply give India a free hand to go ahead with projects without referring them to Pakistan.
Pakistan must realize that a new and more favourable Treaty is impossible even from a India. The existing Treaty is the best it has got.
- if Pakistan with help from its 3.5 friends will ask for a new water treaty.
It may not be a brand new Treaty, but a modified IWT to give more guarantees to Pakistan and place more restrictions on India. The Pakistani PIC has already revealed Pakistan's approach. Pakistan wants to modify the Treaty to ensure that India does not build too many hydroelectric projects and it uses generated power only within J&K (preferably Kashmir Valley). Besides, it may want to have a say in the management of catchment areas and glaciers that contribute waters to the 'western' rivers.
Of course, none of these can be agreed upon by India. But, India should be prepared to ward off pressure from the notorious 3½. It has been the constant and successful theme of Pakistan that Pakistan's behaviour is dictated by a threatening massive neighbour. The members of the 3½ have bought this argument repeatedly and tried to shape India's behaviour either through coercion or through dangling intangible carrots (which never materialized in the end).
We have to presume that they will once again try to get some concessions from India in favour of Pakistan as they have done in the past. The Home secretary's recent declaration that India will produce a White Paper on the water treaty and its implementation so far has to be seen in this context.
- if India, under the "aman ki tamasha" program concedes a more profitable deal for pakis (hey we are not using this water anyway, so all the unused potential is available to the downstream partner; and we do that always in india - when allocating water resources between states).
The only waters that India has not completely used are as follows:
Excess flood flows in the 'Eastern' rivers.
Entitlement for agricultural use on the 'Western' rivers, and
Entitlement for 'storage works' on the 'Western' rivers
The coming water disaster
The Waterless Moon was a book written on Pakistan by Elizabeth Balne-aves in 1955 after her prolonged visit to the newborn country. The title of the book was itself scaring. Did it mean that the country was destined to run dry like the moon with the passage of time? Our leadership dismissed it as a revengeful prejudice of a foreigner. They boasted of the existence of five rivers and a canal network that was the largest in the whole world. In addition the existing water potential, they argued, was enough to keep the country green and surplus in food grains.
Her prophecy, however, did not take more than 47 years to come closer to the bitter truth. On June 14, 2002, the Indian Minister for Water and Power, Chakravarty, in a formal meeting of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) Council held at Delhi shamefacedly declared: “When we abrogate IWT. Pakistan will be in a state of drought and Pakistanis will cry for drops of water.” Another significant statement came in 2003 from the Indian COAS who said: “The rejection of Kala-bagh Dam by some elements in Pakistan will enhance the insecurity of Pakistan.” So the government should have taken serious notice of India’s vicious intents and reacted violently with equally dreadful preem-ptive measures. They paid little heed to the damage that the abandonment of Kaiabagh Dam had in store for the future generations of Pakistan. Every successive government took shelter behind the “need for consensus of all the stakehol-ders” in respect of the dam. Pakistanis have already start-ed paying for the sins of our leaders, Rivers have run dry, existing dams have touched the dead levels, and the generation of electricity has dwindled.
With a major part of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) occupied by India, the conclusion of the Indus Waters Treaty was a blunder of Himalayan magnitude. President Ayub ignored the Quaid’s caution that Kashmir was the jugular vein of Pakistan. Yet he surrendered rights of three eastern rivers i.e. Sutlej, Ravi and Bias to India, who lost no time in diverting their courses to turn them into rivers of sand for Pakistan.
The Treaty gave exclusive rights of, Jhelum, Chenab and Sindh to Pakistan but since their upper reaches lay in IHK, therefore in blatant violation of the provisions of the Treaty India started building dams on them denying the provision of their water to Pakistan. Thus, India won the head and made Pakistan to lose the tails, The Treaty could have been meaningful, to some extent, had it been concluded under the precondition of a fair settlement of the J&K dispute.
India is playing another dirty game in this regard. Taking advantage of it close relations with Afghanistan it is all-out to deny waters of river Kabul to Pakistan. River Kabul is one of the major tributaries of River Indus and India has convinced Afghanistan to build a reservoir on it. Perhaps, financial and technical help is also being offered.
There were times when it was said that there was a sea of underground water in the plains of Punjab and Sindh. While the low quality water could be pumped from depths of 100 to 150 ft, the high quality clean drinking was available at a depth of 250 to 300 ft. However, the rapidly reducing rainfalls and absence of water in the rivers have pushed the underground water to depths of 700 to 800 ft. Lowering of water table has been taking place at the rate of 3 ft per year. This is leading to the destruction of our tube well irrigation of lands and water supply systems of metropolitan cities.
It is now apparent that India’s devilish aim is to make Pakistan a veritable waterless moon. As a result of this monumental water aggression, Pakistan is fast becoming a country of dying rivers. If this trend is permitted to continue Pakistan will soon die of thirst and hunger.
India has so far built more than 60 dams and hydro-electric projects on three Pakistani rivers taking undue advantage of the Indus Waters Treaty signed on September 19, 1960. The shortage of irrigation water has already led to 4 percent reduction of food supply in Pakistan. India started building Baglihar Dam on river Chenab in 2005. It was also inclined to build Wuller Barrage which would have turned Mangla Dam into 110 sq miles into a sandy patch had its groundwork not been destroyed by the mujahideen on April 7, 1990. The Baglihar and Kishan Ganga dams, in addition to 60 proposed water reservoirs by India would use about 80 percent water from Jhelum and Chenab that will create drought-like conditions in Pakistan. However, the most dangerous project undertaken by India is its theft of Indus water through a tunnel. Moreover, It has planned dozens of more such projects on Jehlum, Chenab and Indus. India is all-out to turn Pakistan into a desert without any befitting retaliation from our government. The responsible leadership is answerable to the nation for this negligence that amounts to blatant treachery. Therefore, before blaming our enemy, we should first blame our own leadership that consists of men of means, who opposed the construction of Kalabagh. The generals in particular had the power and authority to build the dam but failed to do so to parry threats to the perpetuation of their rule.
The historical evidence is there to show that many thriving civilisations, Mesopotemia is one example, have perished when their water potential dried up. The same fate is gradually unfolding in case of Pakistan. Why we are so anxious to commit national suicide? Why didn’t we build the dam? The people in power should know that the common man has now come out of state of complacency. The government is least worried about the coming water disaster and keeps on begging Indian authorities for talks to settle the water crisis without any success. The nation now demands the elitists in power that either they relinquish the government or realise that the nation has to be saved from extinction. Instead of begging for lower level meaningless talks it should send a firm message to India that either it should talk about J&K at summit level after having arrived at an understanding of a just and fair solution of the dispute or otherwise be prepared to face the consequences. Pakistan should attach topmost priority to the settlement of the dispute which has become a matter of life and death for it. Don’t discuss water with India, discuss Kashmir.
The suggested policy should be of careful brinkmanship. Nevertheless, Pakistan should move hell and heaven as and when India proposes to construct a dam somewhere in J&K. Indus Waters Treaty is already in tatters due to innumerable Indian violations. Pakistan should claim the return of the three Eastern rivers and also demand the handing over of the Madhupur and Ferozpur Headwork’s from where Pakistani canals originate. The LOC in Kashmir should be declared null and void. The Radcliff Award that gave Muslim majority district of Gurdaspur to India should be revised and lines be redrawn on the map on the principle of partition of the subcontinent. It is time to correct the past blunders and injustices.
It will, undoubtedly be a gigantic task which can be taken up only by a brave, bold and farsighted leadership. It should be able to mobilise favours of influential Arab countries. China should be approached to help because it has critical stakes in the region due to the Gwadar Port constructed with its own financial support. Pakistan should make maximum use of its strategic position in the region in dealing with the USA. It should hold out veiled threats of following independent policies in dealing with Afghan situation. It should identify anti-India elements working against the interest of Pakistan in Afghanistan and do something to neutralise them.
The oft repeated fact may be reiterated that India has not reconciled to the existence of Pakistan even after the passage of so many decades. Therefore, it is time to act boldly with a measured and calculated caution.
India would be foolish to allow usa creep into IWT,which is not a dispute at all.its a big lie created like that of chritine fair 1000 indian consulate in afghanistan.most of the pakistani lies orginate from usa think tank at first. US to engage India, Pakistan to end water dispute
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Officials say potential for water conflict exists in other places as well
WASHINGTON: A United States official has said that Washington will engage Pakistan and India to help improve their tension-brewing situation over water as Washington wants the two South Asian neighbours to avoid any conflict over the lingering dispute.
“I think we need to work on this and find ways to make sure that especially in the Pakistan-Indian case, we can help move that situation forward to an improved situation,” US Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero said at a State Department briefing on the occasion of the World Water Day on Monday.
The US undersecretary was asked about Washington’s policy toward the water dispute between Pakistan and India in view of fears that the dispute, if not resolved, could exacerbate tensions into a conflict.
“What we want to make sure that we can do is help countries avoid conflict over water. The potential for conflict over it exists not only in Pakistan and in India but in other places as well,” the US diplomat added.
“So the effort is to elevate water in our diplomatic engagement with countries, to help countries increase their own capacity to address these issues, and as the secretary mentioned today, to bring some of the forces that we can to help not only manage the existing water but also find ways to increase the supply of water. So the issue is the recognition of water as a potential source of conflict in our elevated effort to address it with greater priority than we have in the past.”
Asked if the Obama administration is specifically talking with India and Pakistan on the water issue, Otero replied: “I think we are beginning to do that. And indeed, part of the discussion that is going on, we are quite aware is between the two countries.
“The role that the United States would play in any kind of existing relationship between two countries is one that has to be carefully focused, and whereas in some cases it can play a diplomatic role and help improve countries ability to dialogue with each other,” she added.
“In other places, it probably needs to stand back and just let the countries move forward. So it really does vary from situation to situation,” the undersecretary added. When her attention was drawn to the fact that India is building dams on rivers flowing into Pakistan and that Pakistan is facing severe water shortage, Otero responded: “We are clearly aware of the enormous importance, especially as you look at upstream and downstream countries and they look at water. I think the message that we are sending today is that the United States is elevating the role that it seeks to play in issues related to water. Whether it will become the mediator in any particular conflict is not something that we are prepared to say right now”. —APP
Online adds: US State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley told reporters on Tuesday that the US was broadening and deepening its relationship with both New Delhi and Islamabad and would keep encouraging them to increase their dialogue.
“I think we are satisfied with the level of engagement that we have across a wide-range of issues with the Indian government,” he said, when asked to comment about the forthcoming dialogue with Pakistan just a week after Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao’s visit.
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did join Under Secretary of State Bill Burns in a meeting with Rao that was charting the way forward on the US-India Strategic Dialogue,” he recalled.
“We’ll have a similar conversation with Pakistan this week on a wide range of issues from agriculture, water, and energy, economic development and finance, defence and security, social issues, and public diplomacy.”
Philip J Crowley said: “We are broadening and deepening our relationship with both India and Pakistan, and we certainly are looking for ways in which we can continue to encourage the two countries to increase their dialogue as well.”
Asked if US was supportive of a gas pipeline deal signed last week by Pakistan and Iran, Crowley said it was a decision for Pakistan to make. “But our concerns about the role that Iran plays in the region and beyond are well-known,” he added.
“We continue a wide range of discussions not only in the region but around the world in terms of the nature of future economic transactions between Pakistan and Iran, and we’ll continue that conversation,” he said.
The official said the US supported the Afghan government’s interest in reaching out to members of insurgent groups provided they renounce violence, and have no ties to al-Qaeda.“These are primarily issues between Afghanistan and insurgent groups as part of the reintegration and reconciliation process,” he said when asked about Sunday’s peace talks between Afghanistan President and Hezb-e-Islamic leaders, who have links with al-Qaeda.
Hillary douses Pak's ire on water; says it's a bilateral issue
WASHINGTON: The United States has doused a major Pakistani complaint against India on water sharing, telling Islamabad it would be "sensible" to look to the existing bilateral mechanism to resolve the issue with New Delhi.
Ahead of a two-day "strategic dialogue" between US and Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejected Islamabad's efforts to have Washington mediate in its grievance against India on water issues, while offering US help on better using its existing resources.
"We're well aware that there is a 50-year-old agreement between Pakistan and India concerning water," Clinton told a Pakistani interviewer who suggested a US role in the matter. "Where there is an agreement... with mediation techniques, arbitration built in, it would seem sensible to look to what already exists to try to resolve any of the bilateral problems between India and Pakistan."
The high-level Pakistani delegation that will begin talks with US interlocutors on Wednesday had penciled its water "dispute" with India as one of the items that needed US intervention. Some Indian experts believe Pakistan is essentially extrapolating the water issue to seek US mediation on Kashmir (since river heads are mostly in Kashmir), a subject Washington is leery of touching.
Pakistan has raised the water issue to toxic levels in recent months, going to the extent of accusing India of "stealing" water and terming it "water terrorism." India, which progressively viewed the heightening rhetoric with incredulity and lately alarm, has rejected the charges.
Indian experts, and even some Pakistani analysts, say the Pakistani establishment has deliberately whipped up a frenzy on the issue to counter Indian focus on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and deflect attention from intra-provincial water disputes arising from poor utilization of existing resources.
Clinton referred to it as much, saying the US wanted to "help Pakistan make better use of the water that you do have. That's going to have to be the first priority in countries including our own."
"Let's see what we do to protect our aquifers. Let's see what we do to be more efficient in the use of our water. Let's see what we do to capture more rainwater; how do we actually use less of it to produce more crops? We think we have some ideas with our experts that we want to sit down and talk with your experts about and see where that goes," she said in what appeared to be an effort to defuse Pakistani grievance.
The leader of the US delegation for Wednesday's talks offered a sobering assessment -- and perhaps a dampening one for Pakistan -- of the long road that lay before Islamabad before it could aspire to have the kind of ties New Delhi has developed with Washington.
Pressed repeatedly in two interviews she gave Pakistani TV networks ahead of the talks as to why Pakistan could not have a civilian nuclear agreement of the kind India signed with the US, Clinton said that deal was a "result of many, many years of strategic dialogue. It did not happen easily or quickly."
She was sure Pakistan was going to raise the issue of a civilian nuclear deal and "we're going to be considering it," she disclosed, but added "I can't prejudge or preempt what the outcome of our discussions will be."
The two interviews were full of querulous complaints and grievances expressed by the Pakistani questioners, reflecting the resentment of the country's establishment that has become the basis for talks. "How come the money (from the Kerry-Lugar aid bill) has been so slow in coming, because we desperately are in need of that money?" went one question.
"Well, the money is in what we call the pipeline. It's not easily conveyed because there are all these rules we have to follow, but it is being delivered," Clinton explained. "Money is coming forward. And we're well aware of Pakistan's financial challenges. We're going to do everything we can to expedite the flow."
Well well wel...even usa know that pakistan is lying over water issue hence they dont want to come in between rather they are advising pakistanis to improve their water management. Hillary Clinton's Interview With Moeed Pirzada of Dunya TV
QUESTION: When I look at the list (inaudible), things like apart from security, we have economic development, we have agriculture, we have energy, which (inaudible) with me that all these things are very intimate and very closely linked with the issue of the water. And water, in the context of South Asia, between India and Pakistan is increasingly a transnational commodity, a transnational issue. Are we expecting the United States to play a more active and more robust diplomacy between India and Pakistan on the issue of water?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the issues that you mentioned are all interconnected, and you can’t pull one out and say, well, is this now going to become international as opposed to what we can do within the context of our relationship to assist Pakistan.
Agriculture, water – they’re all connected. We think we can bring to the table technology, innovation. I announced a project that we are funding to help farmers in Pakistan update two wells so that they can get better irrigation from the water that is already there. We’re well aware that there is a 50-year-old agreement between Pakistan and India concerning water.
What we want to do is to help Pakistan make better use of the water that you do have. That’s going to have to be the first priority in countries including our own. Let’s see what we do to protect our aquifers. Let’s see what we do to be more efficient in the use of our water. Let’s see what we do to capture more rainwater; how do we actually use less of it to produce more crops? We think we have some ideas with our experts that we want to sit down and talk with your experts about and see where that goes.
QUESTION: Just – if I want to spend 30 seconds more on that, in the sense that what you mentioned is an internal management of the water resources, and I want to remind you that you have recently launched the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative in which you identified that (inaudible) hunger is a strategic part of the U.S. foreign policy. So I wonder that – will you still be persuaded by the Indian argument that Pakistan and India are a bilateral relationship and U.S. cannot play an active mediation between them? Maybe water will change that perspective, that perception?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, usually, where there is an agreement, as there is between India and Pakistan on water, with mediation techniques, arbitration built in, it would seem sensible to look to what already exists to try to resolve any of the bilateral problems between India and Pakistan. But in the course of the strategic dialogue, what we want to do is focus on the problem. If the problem is water or agriculture or energy, without looking externally, as we do in our other strategic dialogues, when we have a strategic dialogue with Russia, it’s between the United States and Russia. Now, Russia may have trouble with China or with another neighbor in Eastern Europe, but our strategic dialogue is between the two of us. And our strategic dialogue with Pakistan, which we are taking to the ministerial level at the highest level of civilian democratic leadership, is what we want to build and really put on a strong footing for the future.
Video of the above interview.
Aye Aye sir.After USA poured cold water over mediating over water issue now Jamat ali shah say water dispute has to be resolved bilaterally.Hey but India has been saying the same for past 63 year but then pak always run to uncle.Now if one sees there is no dispute over indus water coz india is allowed to build the dam under treaty and has been allocated water from chenab and jhelum for agriculture and storage.India has not been using its share in chenab and jhelum coz there is no infrastructure of canals and dams for storage over these rivers in india till now.Inshallah soon india will start using its rightful share of water from chenab and jhelum when kishenganga dam gets completed.And pakistans noise over stealing water is lie same as its lie that kasab and other 26/11 terrorists were not pakistani and pakistani state and army has no hand in attack.which again proved to be a lie after headly naming 3 pak army serving officers.so as Christine fairs say that pakistanis are congenial lier.Now lets look for lies in following pakistani news. Pak-India water dispute be resolved bilaterally: Jamaat Ali Shah India flouting Indus Basin Water Treaty’
Friday, March 26, 2010
By Shahid Husain
KARACHI: India is flouting Indus Basin Water Treaty by building big dams on the River Indus and the two South Asian neighbours should move fast to resolve their differences over the issue bilaterally to ensure peace in the region, a top Pakistani negotiator on water told The News on Thursday. “India can irrigate 1.343 million acres of land and generate energy in the Occupied Jammu-Kashmir in accordance with the 1960 Indus Basin Water Treaty,” said Jaamat Ali Shah, Pakistan’s Indus Commissioner. “The treaty allows India to build dams, but with certain specifications ... unfortunately, these specifications are being flouted by India.” (sir then please go to neutral arbitrator as happened in baglihar case)
Pakistan and India are at loggerheads over the distribution of water as New Delhi has build dams on River Jhelum and Indus, which Islamabad says was in violation of the Treaty. Pakistan says that it is no getting its allocated quota of water, which is badly hitting the country’s agriculture. Islamabad has already raised the issue with the World Bank, which was the guarantor of this Treaty. Shah said India was supposed to inform Pakistan regarding the construction of Wuller Barrage on River Jhelum and Chutak Dam on River Indus within six months of the start of the project. But the commitment was never fulfilled and the information was provided late, he said. (already informed first in 1993) There are fears in the international community that the dispute over water between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours could escalate and lead to conflict. (sure most welcome to fight if you want india can fulfil ur that wish too and dispatch you to ur 72s)
Ismael Seageldin, vice-president of the World Bank had predicted way back in 1995 that many of the wars of the 20th Century were about oil, but wars of the 21st Century would be over water. And South Asia, with its bulging population of around 1.5 billion, tops the region where water management and distribution remains a big issue. (now this is the real truth of water scarcity in pak) The US Under-Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, had said earlier this week that Washington plans to engage Pakistan and India to help improve their brewing tensions over water.
Shah said that the two countries should initiate efforts to resolve their water dispute bilaterally. “Ask the politicians about what Washington is saying. I am an engineer and can only say that the Indus Basin Water Treaty should be implemented in letter-and-spirit and our watershed should not be destroyed if India opts to generate hydro-power in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”
Arif N Pervaiz, an eminent environmentalist and an independent consultant, said Washington would not be of any help to Pakistan in resolving its water dispute with India. “No third country can solve a bilateral water dispute between India and Pakistan.”
However, chances of resolving the issue on bilaterally on fast track basis appear bleak, as New Delhi remains reluctant to resume composite dialogue with Pakistan despite Islamabad’s repeated offers. (same we have been saying but u ;ve habit to cry wolf and run to uncle for everything) Pervez said Washington or any other country can help Pakistan in water management as around 40 per cent of its irrigation water is being lost in seepage and theft.
Water management is a crucial issue in this region against the backdrop of fast depleting water resources and booming population in the region. Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences says that the Himalayan glaciers, which are a major source of water for India and Pakistan, are melting at an alarming pace due to the global warming. Glaciers have been melting at a rate of 7 percent annually since 2000, as warming trends have accelerated, it said.
If, as expected, the rate of melting continues at this high figure, glacial coverage of the Plateau will be reduced by 50 percent over the next ten years, Chinese scientists say. (see this is the ultimate truth they themselves saying that but blaming india is necessary to hide their incompetence)
WATER CRISIS IN PAKISTAN
BY FARRUKH SOHAIL GOINDI The most dreaded water scarcity event has at last hit Pakistan. This is nothing unexpected. The manner in which we have been used to handle our resources and national affairs, this catastrophic occurrence was bound to take us over. Nature’s endowment of water blessings upon Pakistan has always been envied by the world at large. At the time of independence 5000 cu/m of water was available for each Pakistani, which has now reduced to 1000 cu/m because of uncontrolled population growth. Water is one resource that can not be generated it can only be preserved. Farsighted nations try to conserve each every drop of water available to them because they are aware of the fact that if this commodity is not prudently preserved and used, the human survival itself would be jeopardized and future wars would be fought for its possession and control. The only manner to conserve this resource known to man so far is to construct dams. Dams have been built for atleast 5000 years and, their functions have evolved with the developing needs of the society. Most likely, the earliest dams were built to store water for domestic and agriculture water supply. With the onset of industrial era, hydropower became a major reason to built dams. Presently dams are built to serve many other functions, such as, flood control, navigation, and recreation. According to an estimate the present volume of all storage reservoirs with gross capacity of 5 cu/km and above amounts to some 4900 cu/km. Out of this about 975 cu/km lie in North America while about 1770 cu/km are in Asia with majority in China. China has some 83000 reservoirs built for various purposes, of which 330 are major in size. While in Pakistan we have two major and about a dozen smaller reservoirs. It has been said that all reservoirs are doomed to die. This is due to loss of their storage capacity because of sedimentation. Assuming a hundred year average life of reservoirs (Lake Mead, USA-350 years + Tarbela, Pakistan-40 years), the world is losing about 41 cu/km of storage capacity per year. Although we can not halt their termination yet, with our knowledge and effort we can delay this process and elongate their life. So far few methods are available for prolonging the storage and life of reservoirs. Among these the most frugal and resource preservation method is construction of series of dams on the river so as to trap the sediment inflows in the upstream reservoirs and store comparatively sediment free water in the lower reservoirs. It was estimated that Kalabagh reservoir life with Tarbela upstream and a conjunctive operation could be extended to 100+ years. The other operational methods include sediment sluicing alongwith water flows through the dam outlets and flushing of accumulated sediment through reservoir regulation methods; though these method involve trade off between stored water and reservoir capacity because stored water shall have to be passed through the dam unobstructed. Another method available is desiltation through dredging. This method is so expensive that construction of a new storage would cost about one twentieth of the cost of a similar reservoir.
Let us now recapitulate and make an assessment of ourselves to find out how and why we have suddenly become a water scarcity country from a water affluent country. Soon after the creation of Pakistan the country was faced with a number of serious problems including that of electricity and water shortage. The control of three out of five Punjab rivers had gone to India, which stopped the water supply to our canals feeding the eastern districts of theUnited Punjab and the Bhawalpur State.The unilateral action of the Indian Government ruined our cultivated land which was soon rendered dry and started becoming salinated. This affected the economy of the newly created country very badly and the danger of famine thus loomed over the nation. Pakistan therefore, had to mobilize her own resources. The search for alternate arrangements to sustain our mainly agrarian economy started. The construction of small dams on our rivers like Warsak on Kabul and Rohtas on Jhelum were taken up with the aid of Commonwealth countries. In addition, for gross utilization of the available water resources in the country, the Govt. of Pakistan set up an organization under the title “Dams Investigation Circle”(DIC) which was entrusted with the task of carrying out comprehensive survey for collecting the data and preparing the projects which may help in resolving the problems of water and energy shortage. By the end of May 1996, the DIC prepared a number of projects, which included Dams at Kalabagh on Indus River and Rohtas (later called Mangla) on Jhelum river.
Investigations for construction of a huge multipurpose dam on Indus River at Kalabagh were started in 1953 and its feasibility was submitted to the Govt. after getting approved by a group of expert foreign Consultants. The Govt. approved this in 1959, the year WAPDA came in to being. In 1960 a treaty between Pakistan and India was signed with World Bank mediation widely known as the “Indus Basin Treaty”. According to this treaty, control of waters of Ravi, Bias and Sutlej was given to India with the condition that the Indian Govt. will compensate for the loss of Pakistan and fully participate in the construction of the replacement works with the help of the World Bank and the other aid giving agencies. The replacement works included two large dams one on the Indus and the other on Jhelum, five barrages and eight link canals and a siphon for carrying the waters of Chenab River across the Sutlej River. The then Chief Martial Law Administrator and President Ayub Khan on behalf of the Pakistan Govt. and the Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jwaharlal Nehru on behalf of India signed the treaty; Eugene Blake signed the treaty on behalf of the World Bank. For the two large multipurpose dams on Indus and Jehlum Pakistan proposed sites at Kalabagh and Rohtas (later called Mangla). Kalabagh site choice for Pakistan was obvious since lot of investigation had been carried out at this site and a feasibility report duly prepared and approved by the GOP after check and scrutiny by the foreign experts and consultants.
In the meanwhile a group of shortsighted bureaucrats gathered around Ayub Khan and convinced him to switch over the construction site on Indus River from Kalabagh to Tarbela some 100 miles upstream. Unfortunately, Ayub Khan was neither a political leader nor had the wisdom to understand the implications of the counsel given to him. In fact it was some sort of intrigue weaved very carefully around Ayub Khan by some petty minded bureaucrats who had their own axe to grind rather than serve the national interest. On Ayub Khan’s insistence the design of dam at Tarbela site was prepared in great hurry, which was not based on detailed site investigations and thus had many inherent defects. The team of experts warned the GOP that this project would be a complete failure and the whole investment on this scheme will go down the drain. Incidentally no attention was paid to this warning. Ayub Khan soon came to know that the World Bank would not pay a single penny for this badly designed project of Tarbela Dam. Since, a large dam was part of the treaty, the GOP commenced work on Tarbela Dam out of the funds received for Kalabagh Dam and later approached other countries, who agreed to finance the project on terms and conditions favored to their interests. The reasons for switching over to Tarbela Dam were never made known to the public which ofcource was not in a position of raising any voice against the authority of the Martial Law Government. Kalabagh Dam was therefore thrown into the dustbin and all the resources were diverted towards Tarbela Dam. However, a lollypop was given to the nation stating that since it is intended to built a series of dams on the Indus river, soon after completion of Tarbela all machinery and trained man-power would be diverted towards construction of Kalabagh and later on completion of Kalabagh, these resources would be utilized for construction of dam(s)upstream of Tarbela at suitable sites.
Tarbela’s hurried and faulty design brought Pakistan near total catastrophe in 1974. It was only the Almighty that saved Pakistan from complete devastation. An accidental stuck-up of tunnel gates at Tarbela forced the operating authorities dump the full reservoir and when the reservoir was completely depleted it was found that large sink holes have developed on the immediate upstream of the dam. This is a phenomenon akin to silent heart attack, which results into sudden cardiac arrest without warning. With a newly full reservoir no one could visualize such a happening and one fine morning there would have been no dam resulting into the whole country being under 4-6 feet of water.
The story of Kalabagh does not end here. During Bhutto era need for another storage seriously cropped up and research and studies with the help of both local and foreign consultants were carried out to develop the Kalabagh feasibility studies into full fledge project design. This design was deliberated by top world experts on dam design, reservoir sedimentation and operation. Due care was given to various implications involved and engineering solutions based on sophisticated techniques were chalked out. During Zia regime the World Bank committed some U.S. $7.0 billion and kept this amount earmarked for about three years. Then suddenly an intrigue based on dirty politics sealed the fate of the Kalabagh Dam for all times to come. A powerful General who was Governor of NWFP in order to put pressure on Zia for reasons best known to them, in connivance with some Consultants started marking high flood level marks on the houses, graveyards, mosques and other permanent structures, and set a wave of alarm among the public of fear of their drowning. This disturbance among the people was played up so much that a strong resistance started developing among the inhabitants of NWFP against the Dam. Most unfortunately, these high flood level marks were neither based on facts nor had any basis. The dam designers in particular and the engineering community in general based on actual studies proved and showed that even in the worst scenario when both Tarbela and Kalabagh are full and an unprecedented historic flash flood occurs, the high flood level would not reach to a stage so as to cause any damage to the populace. With regard to the fear of waterlogging in the Nowshera valley adequate provision was made for tubewell installations as part of the Kalabagh project. But, the shot had been fired and before the NWFP people fears could be quelled, the Sindh Province came out with an entirely opposite objection to the Kalabagh Dam building i.e. drought and water scarcity. The controversy has reached to an extent that today almost every one in Pakistan has formed opinion either for or against the Kalabagh Dam.
If we look deep into the controversy we would clearly see the mistrust and distrust between the Provinces being an outcome of the suppression caused by autocratic rules and absence of democratic forces needed to freely vent and mitigate the negative forces.
Coming back to the water scarcity problem, we find that absence of additional storages have forced us to burden Tarbela most adversely by inflicting continued low level drawdowns which caused racing of large sediment deposits within the reservoir towards the Dam much before than expected. To retard the movement of sediment towards the Dam it was required to keep the minimum pool level higher so as to keep the delta away from the Dam and maintain the reservoir’s live storage as much as possible. For example, Tarbela minimum pool level initially was fixed at El. 1300 and later with the increase in sediment inflows was to be gradually raised to El. 1400 and if need arises even higher. But, successive dry years forced us to operate the reservoir at lower levels and as a result the toe of the delta has almost reached upto to mouth of the intakes. As such, this year we are forced to stop water releases from the reservoir at El. 1369 and, if we venture to lower it further all silt, sand and debris would pass through the power intakes and damage the turbines to an extent that the power house shall have to be closed for repairs involving heavy amount of foreign exchange.
The Kalabagh controversy started some 15 years back and during this period we did nothing but to concentrate on rhetoric for or against Kalabagh. Although it was known that consensus on construction of a new reservoir above or below Kalabagh will take some time and when it somehow gets finalized then preparation of its feasibility, design and then construction all would involve not less than 15 years. One preference for Kalabagh is that its designs are prepared and even the tender documents are ready.
It is a well-known fact that in the world most lucrative projects were conceived but resisted and washed out by envoirmentalists. That never was construed as end of the day. Planners always have alternate plans ready, which unfortunately we miserably lack. Prudence demanded that during the last 15 years we should have worked on sites other than Kalabagh and reached a level from where the actual construction commences. Not only that, we should have educated ourselves through research and study of Tarbela reservoir sedimentation processes and upgraded our knowledge of the complexity of reservoir sedimentation.
The engineering interest in reservoir sedimentation concerns three physical aspects; (i) overall volume of trapped sediment, (ii) distribution of deposit volume, and (iii) distribution of sediment particle size within the reservoir. The loss of storage capacity due to sediment deposits reduces the efficacy of a reservoir to regulate the flow and to provide a flood control. The distribution of volume of deposit determines the relative impact of trapped sediment on the usable storage, and the distribution of particle size effects the density of deposits as well as the potential damage caused by the ingress of sediment into the power inlets.
A number of approaches have been developed in the world to study these phenomenon. These include empirical methods; mathematical modeling and physical modeling but all these approaches have their limitations and need research and study to evaluate their effectiveness. Tarbela reservoir is one such place where ideal conditions exist to enhance our knowledge in area of sedimentation engineering.
WAPDA was established to develop the water and power resources of the country. It was structured as a multi-disciplinary organization with wide autonomy of working. It was at its Zenith when it most successfully and in record time completed world’s gigantic Indus Basin Project. Although, after the Indus Basin Project no new large construction project with the exception of SCARP was handled by WAPDA yet, it continued its effective and productive role of water development through research and studies. Between 1974 to1987 under its aegis world’s largest ever undertaken prototype research in the mechanics of alluvial channels using the canals and rivers of Pakistan was undertaken with the collaborative sponsorship and funding from the National Science Foundation of USA. The accomplishments under this research endeavor provided worldwide designers of the alluvial channels new approaches based on phenomenon hither to unknown and unobserved. Later, the WAPDA organization entrusted with this research project was elevated into an international sedimentation research institute in order to use its knowledge and expertise to research and study the complex processes of sedimentation, the biggest menace and threat to the water resources whether these are flowing or conserved.
Then a gradual apathy, unconcern and indifference on WAPDA’s part towards its basic objective of development of water and power resources tookover; most probably due to the attitude of its higher-ups who considered WAPDA’s role solely of a revenue collection agency. Unfortunately, those under the top brass were also insensitive towards the sophisticated expertise developed within the organization and therefore did not have the capability of properly guiding or counseling the decision-makers. The net result was that organizations that were built in decades were destroyed and reduced to shambles in months. The star international sedimentation research institute is now dumped into few katcha garages in a remote corner of the city. All its sophisticated equipment has either been reduced to junk or pilfered and all the expertise gained totally lost. This world renowned research institute is now headed by a Sr. Engr. who has been promoted from a mechanical overseer. Similarly, another organization, which was developed from Dams Investigation Circle (mentioned earlier), is under so much fear and harassment that its employees have practically lost all nerve. This organization is also being headed by a mechanical engineer who does not know even basics of dam engineering.
Various periodic inspections of Tarbela Dam by experts recommended different solutions to tackle the sedimentation problems of the reservoir. For testing and researching these solutions it was proposed that immediately a physical model studies laboratory be established at Tarbela site. This laboratory would not only undertake a comprehensive research and study to find solutions to Tarbela problems but also cater for future needs of other projects on the Indus River and its tributaries. In this regard collaborative efforts were made with a prestigious Chinese sedimentation research institute. But, with the departure of those who were instrumental in developing of this collaborative activity with the Chinese, every thing was thrown to airs. The Chinese are constructing a very large dam namely “Three Gorges Project”. This project is not only being researched in a physical-modeling laboratory at the site but at every major engineering university in the country. What a pity? We who claim to have world’s most integrated water resource and conveyance system do not have even one laboratory in the country capable of studying dams, reservoirs or sedimentation problems. On the other hand, as announced by the Chief Executive, we are planning to construct a number of reservoirs and, unfortunately, do not posses the basic infrastructure to study the complexities involved. The one laboratory at Nandipure under the Punjab Irrigation Department is not even sufficient to handle Punjab Irrigation’s own problems and the efficacy and efficiency of this laboratory portrays the same story of apathy.
WAPDA has now come up with its dream of “vision 2025”. With the present level of in-house knowledge and expertise can it even initiate such a utopic program? We talk of constructing projects like Bhasha Dam. Unfortunately, we think of Bhasha probably similar to a plaza. This project is going to be far more problematic than Tarbela (Refer Panel of Experts Report-1988). No local firm (s) is capable of undertaking its investigations without active collaboration of foreign experts/specialists. Had we continued the research and study efforts started way back within WAPDA, we by now would have achieved a level of knowledge whereby our dependency on foreign expertise had been minimal. But, we wasted all opportunities and chances. No we can do nothing but hold Namaz- e- Istasqa.
SINDH-PUNJAB WATER DISPUTE 1859-2003
(The century-and-a-half long illegal, criminal and
conspiratorial plunder of Sindhs share of the Indus
Basin Waters, the serious water famine imposed upon
Sindh, the ruin of its agro-based economy and the
apprehended genocide of Sindhi people)
By: RASUL BUX PALIJO
Center for Peace and Human Development 2003
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 2
The conflict of water in Pakistan is assuming serious proportions.
Two out of four provinces of Pakistan i.e. Sindh and Punjab have very acute
differences in the sharing of water resources. It is also a major source of
conflict in Pakistan. The major argument of Punjab is that, at an average, 35
MAF of water goes waste in to the Arabian Sea every year. This water or
part of it, it argues should be productively utilized to produce grain. Sindh
on the other hand contain that this figure is a mirage and that Punjab has
progressively and illegally appropriated more water than its legitimate share,
greatly damaging the agro-based economy of Sindh, especially in the years
of natural shortage. For its deep distrust, Sindh cites the example of the last
four years (1998-2002) of natural shortage, when Sindh was clamoring for
drinking water while Punjab was harvesting record and bumper crops.
Mr. Rasul Bux Palijo’s research paper to a large extent explains the
reasons of mistrust felt by the people of Sindh. It also depicts the present
feelings of Sindh towards, what they consider an age old attempt by the
ruling classes of Punjab to subjugate Sindh. In view of the great mischief the
conflict of water can play the social harmony of country affecting the lives
of very many people. Mr. Palijo’s paper goes a long way in explaining the
deep rooted historical causes of the conflict.
I and many others, who have passed to ponder over this matter,
consider that the conflict of sharing of water resources of Pakistan is the
precursor of very serious threat to the integrity of people of country and a
cause of very great unhappiness to a large number of people of Pakistan.
Center for Peace and Human Development (CPHD-South Asia) takes
pride to publish this important and worth reading paper to put this case
before people of Pakistan and of South Asia. We are thankful to Pattan
Development Organization for their financial support in this regard.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 3
Dedicated to the stolen mighty River
(RASUL RUX PALIJO)
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 4
SINDH-PUNJAB WATER DISPUTE 1859-2003
(The century-and-a-half long illegal, criminal and conspiratorial plunder
of Sindh’s share of the Indus Basin Waters, the serious water famine
imposed upon Sindh, the ruin of its agro-based economy and the
apprehended genocide of Sindhi people)
RASUL BUX PALLJO
Most of the great world civilizations have been the gifts of the great
rivers of the world. Disputes over waters of rivers have been occurring from
time to time in world history.
Thanks to the enormous development and more or less effective
implementation of International Law about rights of co-sharers of river
waters, most of the present day river-water disputes of the world have been
amicably settled. The cardinal principle of the river-water law that has
emerged out of centuries of intra-national as well as international litigation
on the issue, is that the party at the upper side of a river (legally known as
upper riparian) has no right to withdraw or divert water from the common
river if it causes loss or injury to a party at the lower side (legally known as
the lower riparian). Prof: H.A. Simth’s famous work “Economic uses of
International Rivers”, which examines treaties between states since 1785,
states that all these treaties proceed upon the principle that works executed
in the territory of one state required the consent of another, if they
injuriously affect the interests of the latter.
In undivided India, the law of equitable use of common river waters
developed steadily with the passage of time.
The river Indus with its five tributaries and the agriculture based upon
this river system, has been the mainstay of the economy of the former northwestern
Indian territories, now constituting Pakistan. Three tributary rivers
of Indus, namely Ravi, Bias and Sutlej enter Pakistan from India and the
other two viz Jhelum and the Chanab flow into Pakistan along with Indus,
from the State of Jamu and Kashmir. The waters of all the above five
tributary rivers join that of the Indus at Panjnad, irrigate the province of
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 5
Sindh and discharge into the Arabian sea in southern Pakistan, at and around
Keti Bandar in Sindh.
There were, therefore, two main riparian (co-sharers and
beneficiaries) of the waters of the six rivers of the Indus River system in the
pre-partition period viz-undivided Punjab and Sindh, since time
immemorial. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the authorities of the
province of undivided Punjab started diverting water from this system
against the interests and rights of the Sindh province and this started the
nearly a century-and-a-half-long, Sindh-Punjab water dispute.
“During the last hundred years under the guidance of British
engineers, irrigation was greatly extended (in Punjab RBP) through the
construction of head-work weirs on the rivers and through canals.
Flourishing colonies were established. Cultivation of cotton, wheat, rice and
sugar cane was expanded. New towns sprang into existence. Orchards and
well-tended farms covered the countryside. More land is irrigated from the
Indus rivers than from any other river system in the world... one (dam)
planned before partition was the Bhakra Dam on the Sutlej River in East
Punjab.. .Before it was sanctioned, the down-stream Province of Sindh
complained that the operation of Bhakra Dam would adversely affect the
functioning of its in undation canals,”(”The Emergence of Pakistan” by
Chaudhri Muhammad Au P: 317). This dispute attracted the intervention of
the government of British India from time to time. It is however, continuing
unabated to this day, due to reasons discussed below.
The government of British India constituted in 1901, India Irrigation
Commission which ordered Punjab to seek permission from Sindh about any
project which it may wish to implement with regard to the waters of Indus
In 1919 the Cotton Committee appointed by the government of India
to settle the Sindh-Punjab Water dispute held that Punjab should not be
given any waters from Indus river system till the results of the projected
Sukkur Barrage do not become evident. The 1919 government of India Act
lay it down that the matters regarding Sindh-Punjab water dispute should be
decided by no less an authority than the Viceroy of India himself.
The government of India Act 1935 Section 130 and Section 131(6),
interalia laid down the principle that no province can be given an entirely
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 6
free hand in respect of a common source of water such as an inter-provincial
river. Examining the riparian rights, and the claims of the authorities of the
(undivided) Punjab, that an upper riparian province in India may take as
much water as it needs from rivers flowing through it, the Rao Commission
headed by Sir B .W. Rao, of the Calcutta High Court, who latter became a
Judge of the International Court of Justice, opined in “the Report of Indus
Commission” (Para 49, Page 33), “pushed to its logical conclusion, this
means that a province in which the head- waters of a great river are situated,
can abstract any quantity of water and make a desert of the provinces or
states lower down. We have already pointed out that this view is against the
trend of international law and that in any event, so far as India is concerned,
it would conflict with the manifest intention of section 130 and the
succeeding sections of the government of India Act 1935.”
Commenting on the principle of “equitable apportionment” of the
river waters, laid down by the Rao Commission, the former Prime Minister
of Pakistan, Chaudhry Muhammad Au says, at pages 117-118 of his book
“The Emergence of Pakistan”:-
“The Rao Commission laid down, as the principle governing the
respective rights of the parties, “equitable apportionment”. This principle,
which is internationally recognized as regulating the rights of states having a
common river basin, includes the rule that an upper riparian can take no
action that will interfere with the existing irrigation of the lower riparian.”
The one and a half century old dispute between Sindh, the lower
riparian and Punjab the upper riparian, over the sharing of the waters of the
Indus and its main tributaries, the five rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Bias and
Sutlaj, is probably the longest surviving unresolved water dispute of recent
history. It has culminated in the weaker and lower riparian Sindh coming in
the grip of a horrible water famine and economic and social ruin. In the
perception of many people of Sindh, there is a real danger of virtual physical
extinction of the people of Sindh in the not too distant future, if the
artificially imp water-famine conditions are perpetuated and/or any more
dams like the Greater Thal Canal or Kala Bagh Dam take away even the
present meager supply of water to Sindh, as every drop of water taken away
from the down ward flow of water of the Indus river system, under any
pretext whatsoever (e.g. prevention of wastage of water discharging into the
sea), will lessen Sindh’s already vastly plundered water supply and will
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 7
accentuate the acute water famine condition in Sindh and accelerate its
economic and social ruin.
A deep-rooted apathy about general public concerns and cares
dominates the minds of our common men. They are too pre-occupied with
and over-burdened, by their day-to-day personal struggles for sheer survival,
to care about anything else. They have no means of knowing properly, that
in human society even one’s strictly personal and family interests are
inseparably inter-connected with and inter-dependent upon, broader clan,
group, ethnic, national, regional and global interests. Very few of us know
that despite the entire variety and contradictions of our multi-furious social
and other interests, in the last analysis, the most fundamental, the broadest
and biggest interests of our people of all ethnic entities, nationalities and
provinces are, in the broadest general sense, more similar and identical than
dissimilar and contradictory. We have yet to realize that ultimately, the
things which divide us are not as important, for our collective good life and
progress, as those, which unite or at least should unite us. Consequently
there may not be too many people in Punjab who may know the fact that
whatever grievances the people of Sindh, have, in this matter, are against the
ruling classes not only of Punjab but also of Sindh, and not against their
brothers, the common people of Punjab, the majority of whom, they believe,
are leading a more or less miserable life, like Sindhis and other people of
Pakistan and the third world.
It may therefore not be easy for them to realize how absolutely
impossible it is for the people of Sindh to have any feelings other than those
of fraternal admiration and respect for the people who have given our
country and the sub continent, such unique, grand and fascinating
personalities as, to name but a few, Sayyad Au Hujwere (Data Ganj
Bakhsh), Baba Farid, Baba Nanik, Shah Hussain, Waris Shah, Alama Iqbal,
Faiz Ahmed Faiz and yes, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, whose gigantic
contributions to our common culture are a matter of great and just pride for
Under the circumstances, to the uninitiated general public of the
country, the present imperiled condition of the endangered human specie
named “the people of Sindh”, especially that of its agro-based rural
population, dependent wholly and solely on the water of the now dried up
Indus, is just one of those unfortunate but inevitable things which keep
happening to people in this unhappy world of ours, every now and then.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 8
The situation is hardly better even in the case of well educated and the
newspaper reading sections of the public.
Due to a most persistent clever disinformation campaign of the vested
interests, the problem of the just settlement of the historic Sindh-Punjab
water dispute, for resolving of which the then government of British India
appointed three high powered authorities: the Cotton Committee in 1919, the
Anderson Committee in 1935 and the Rao Commission in 1941, and which
has defied the efforts of no less than four committees and commissions
appointed after the establishment of Pakistan, (Akhtar Hussain
Committeel968, Fazal Akbar Commission 1970, Anwrarul Haque
commission 1981 and Haleem Commission in 1983) is being merely
reduced to questions of superficial and frivolent interpretations of the socalled
water “accord” of 1991 foisted through that notorious establishment
puppet Jam Sadiq Ali, the iota Chief Minister, which on its very face, does
not address, the most fundamental core issues of the Sindh-Punjab water
It all started in 1859, when the authorities of the undivided Punjab, the
upper riparian for Sindh, of Indus and its tributaries, suddenly began
diverting the waters, of Indus tributaries without the consent required under
International and sub-continental law of river waters, of the lower riparian
Sindh, which was sharing the waters of all these rivers since times
immemorial. In that year they constructed the central Ban Doab Canal on the
Ravi, adversely affecting the water supply of Sindh. This proved to be
merely the first shot in the one-and-a-half-century long predatory water-war
the authorities of the province of Punjab are waging against its poor and
weak neighbor the Sindh. It is an operation for misappropriating and
plundering Sindh’s share of common waters of the Indus River system by
hook or crook, in hundreds of brazen as well as subtle and surreptitious
ways. It has continued unabated till today.
The latest shot is the on-going fast-track construction of the Greater-
Thai canal project, which is being dug day and night to present Sindh with a
fait accomplice, under a regime of military “democracy”.
After the Central Ban Doab, the upper riparian constructed between
1885 and 1901, three more canals viz Sidhnai, lower Chenab and lower
Jhelum canals, all without the consent of the lower riparian Sindh. Paharpur
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 9
Canal in 1908, upper Swat Canal in 1914 followed in similar fashion. In
1915 they went over to a new stage of water misappropriation and plunder in
the face of international and sub-continental law of common river waters.
They started diverting water on a grand scale with multiple canal projects.
The first one was the triple canal project for diverting the common waters
through three new canals viz Jhelurn Canal, Upper Chenab Canal and the
Lower Ban Doab Canal.
In spite of their strong imperialistic, anti-people and biased strategies
and cynical policies, the British colonial government in India did have some
irreducibly minimum administrative decencies and moral restraints which,
by and large, they firmly held to, in the face of other strategic and tactical
considerations which indicated purely tactical and opportunistic courses of
They never utterly deserted that great banner of good government,
inherited by them from the Greco-Roman civilization, the rule of law and
not of persons.
The ruling class of the Punjab was the ally of the British since 1807
treaty of Amritsar with them. It was their junior partner in their war of
subjugation of surrounding Muslim areas and Afghanistan and later on,
became the most loyal swordsman of the British empire, having proved its
super- loyalty to the empire, by helping it in a big way, in the suppression of
the 1st Indian War of Independence in 1857, for which it had been royally
rewarded, besides other bounties, by the then greatest irrigation system of
Asia, the Indus rivers irrigation system in Punjab.
“For Punjab - the... (British) imperialists and empire- builders devised
an entirely different scheme of exploitation. Punjab was not naturally fertile
and rich in water resources as Bengal...
“Unlike Bengal, where large land holdings of the Muslims were
broken and parceled out to petty cultivators, in Punjab ….. the imperialists
bestowed their patronage, in huge parcels of canal-irrigated and thus
perennially fertile land, to a new breed of landed, Muslim aristocracy they
had conjured up for their convenience, a century-and-a-half hence, we in
Pakistan are still contending with that imperialist legacy and paying a
colossal premium in national disarray and political chaos for that 19th
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 10
“The wounds of the Sepoy mutiny were still fresh. They (the British-
RBP) had succeeded in putting it down with the help of Punjabi mercenary
soldiers recruited for them by petty Muslim middlemen. So they showered
their favors in spades on these middlemen when virgin land became
cultivable, thanks to the canals. Petty middlemen became aristocrats,
overnight. Naturally they were beholden to their masters and readily became
their pawns in the imperial game of rapacious plunder.”(”The Punjab Under
Imperialism: 1885- 1947”, by Imran Ali — Review by Karamatullah K.
Ghori, Dawn Nov: 2, 2003 Reviews, P.10)
Sindh was then the step-child of the Bombay presidency that’s
advanced and prosperous Hindu majority was loath to allow itself to be
unduly perturbed by the woes of a far off piece of land, with a backward
rural Muslim majority, like Sindh.
In spite of their obvious imperialist bias in favor of the Punjab, the
British did not view the grave injustice being done to Sindh like a spectator,
nay, as an undeclared partisan of the aggressive, stronger side, as the
pseudo-federal government authorities of Pakistan have been and are doing.
In the matter of historic Sindh-Punjab water dispute, the British Indian
central government tried to do justice and to ensure that it be seen by the
world that the central government of India was really a central, non-partisan
and impartial central government and that justice was being done between
the big and small entities of the empire without fear or favor, in matters of
fundamental importance to the common people.
In the meantime, the authorities of the (undivided) Punjab did not
keep sitting idle. In 1919, they started the huge Sutlaj Valley project for
construction of 11 canals and 4 head works on the Sutlej River at one stroke.
A complaint was lodged with the central government of India, which
appointed in the same year, a committee headed by Mr. Cotton. The
(undivided) Punjab government adopted the stand that it had the right to use
the waters of rivers that pass through their province to the extent it is needed
“Cotton Committee….reported the same year that (undivided) Punjab
should not be allocated water from Indus till the effects of construction of
the proposed Sukkur Barrage had not become evident.”
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 11
In September 1919 government of Punjab presented Thal project as
against Sindh’s Sukkur Barrage project. The Viceroy Lord Chelmsford
rejected the Thal project.
According to Dispatch No. 3-Public Works dated 2nd June, 1927,
from the Government of India to the Secretary of State for India.(P.1), in
April 1923, the Sukkur Barrage Project was sanctioned by the Secretary of
State for India. (See “Indus Water Allocation” by G.K. Soomro, P.1) Within
a month of this, the Government of the Punjab against what they regarded as
a preference to Sindh and raised for the first time, the question of duties
adopted for the Sukkur Project. The Govt: of Bombay strongly objected to
this attitude on the part of the Punjab Government and contended that the
Punjab had more than their share of the water of the Indus System for its
schemes of perennial irrigation, while Sindh which at the time was a part of
Bombay Presidency, had not commenced a single one. They also
complained against the Thai Project, and considered it to be of the greatest
danger to Sindh.
The Government of India fully considered the two protests…. in a
letter addressed by the Government of India to the two Provinces on 21st
It was pointed out that the Sukkur Barrage and Canals Project had
been designed for the benefit of the region that was fully entitled to the
water, which it was proposed to allot to it, and that its supplies must
obviously be assured. It was also stated that the duties adopted in the Sukkur
Project had been accepted, after careful consideration, as reasonable, regard
being had to the peculiar conditions and scanty rainfall obtaining in Sindh.
The Government of India said that they were not prepared to re-open the
To establish some sort of claim on Indus Waters Government of the
undivided Punjab, in November 1924, again re-opened the question of Thai
Project, this time with a proposal to construct a small experimental Canal
involving 750 cusecs. While the Government of India were negotiating with
the Government of Bombay, regarding this request, they received, in
September 1925, a communication from the Government of the Punjab
stating that they had decided to drop the proposal for the experimental Canal
and were desirous of proceeding with a bigger Thai Scheme. In the
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 12
following month the Government of India, which contemplated irrigating 8,
80,000 acres, with a withdrawal of 3085 cusecs from the Indus in the cold
season, received the Thai Canal Lesser Project from the Punjab. In February,
1926, Lord Reading’s Government found themselves forced, on grounds of
equity, to support the stand-point adopted by the Bombay Govt: and
announced their final decision as follows:-
(a) That until such time as Sukkur Barrage Scheme comes into
operation, and further experience of perennial Irrigation in Sindh is
available, the question of the volume of water required for that
scheme cannot be re-opened.
(b) That, faced as they are with the unknown effect of the withdrawals
which will be necessary for the supply of the Sutlej Valley Canals in
the Punjab, the Government of Bombay have the right to object to
further withdrawals from the Indus or its tributaries unless & until
definite proof can be given that the supplies necessary for the Sukkur
Barrage Project will not be endangered thereby.
(c) That such proof must be based upon the result of more accurate
gauging of the river and its tributaries, which were instituted as a
result of Sir Thomas Ward’s note of the 10th December 1929.
In spite of the above, the Punjab Government continued to protest
against the Sindh Allocations. The Government of India then referred the
matter to the Secretary of State and asked for his instructions. The Secretary
of State replied that he agreed with the conclusions of the Government of
India, and that nothing but experience could show exactly what value should
be taken for those duties, and having regard to the fact that Sukkur Canals
have not yet even begun to irrigate, no reason had been shown for
reconsideration of the duties, and it would be unreasonable in itself, and
unfair to the Government of Bombay to re-open the question of the duties at
that time and that the Government of Punjab should accordingly be informed
that he regretted that after full consideration he was unable to accede to their
The water dispute between Sindh and Punjab had by this time reached
such proportions that government of India was forced to constitute an eight
member committee, under the Chief Engineer of UP, Mr. Anderson, with the
clear and express direction that no fresh withdrawals (by the upper riparian,
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 13
the province of Punjab) be recommended which may be detrimental to the
other riparian or may adversely affect not only the existing but also the
future rights of such riparian over the waters of the Indus waters.
“(One of) the terms of reference of Anderson Committee (was)....“The
possibility of finding such supplies without detriment to the parties
interested in the waters of the Indus and its tributaries and the effect upon
the existing or prospective rights of those parties of any fresh withdrawals,
the authorization of which the committee may recommend.”
In the meantime the (undivided) Punjab authorities who seem to have
made mass manufacture of schemes and projects for taking away as much
water from the Indus system as possible, their permanent occupation or
rather an eternal passion, which continues till to-day and promises to
continue as long as there is even a single cusec of water left in the system,
for going down-stream to the lower riparian, produced yet another massive
project for the purpose, the Bhakhra Dam project.
Since the Punjab authorities thus continued to plan for further
extensive withdrawals and storages, the Government of Sindh was
compelled to lodge a complaint, in 1939, before the Government of India,
under the provisions of Government of India Act, 1935, regarding the
apprehended effects of the Punjab Projects on the canals in Sindh. The
complaint in its final form was submitted to the Governor General of India
on 7th June 1941. The Governor General appointed a Commission on 11th
Sep, 1941, to investigate the complaint. This commission had three
members, with Justice B.M. Rau, a Judge of the Calcutta High Court as its
Chairman, by whose name, the Commission has subsequently come to be
The Commission concluded that the withdrawals necessary for the
Punjab Projects mentioned in the complaint, when super-imposed upon the
requirements of other Projects already in operation or about to be completed,
were likely to cause material injury to Sindh inundation canals particularly
in the month of September.
The Commission recommended that the only satisfactory way of
preventing such injury was the construction of two new Barrages one in
upper Sindh and the other in lower Sindh costing about 16 Crores. The
Commission further found that Sindh would not be able to finance these two
Projects without borrowing, even on the assumption that the Punjab would
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 14
make a contribution of 2 Crores, which the Commission considered to be
a not unreasonable sum for her to pay as compensation for the damage to
Sind Irrigation she was likely to do.(P.6)
The Commission directed Punjab authorities not to take any action on
their proposed project up to October 1945 and in the meantime it directed
both the governments of Sindh and Punjab to come to an agreement. In the
meantime status quo was ordered with regard to the distribution of water
between Punjab and Sindh. On the orders of government of India, the Chief
Engineers of Sindh and Punjab started negotiations under the guidance and
supervision of Sir Claude Angles, the director of central irrigation and
Hydro Dinlock Research at Poona, Bombay Presidency.
At last on 28September 1945, the Sindh-Punjab draft Agreement was
finalized which was signed by the Chief Engineers of both the provinces.
According to that agreement, at Ghazi Ghat Punjab was to take one share
from the Indus and Sindh was to get three shares. Article 8 of the agreement
laid down that in future Punjab could not construct any dam on river Indus
or on any of its tributaries without the consent of the government of Sindh.
The Sindh-Punjab Agreement fixes priorities and provides the
framework for sharing all the waters of the Indus main and the five Punjab
Rivers for canals, which existed in 1945 as well as for all those, planned or
projected. The Agreement gives detailed schedules for sharing of supplies
when the availability of water in the river was less than the allocation. The
Agreement also provides the framework for all future projects and sharing of
all surplus supplies in the rivers beyond’ the needs of the then present and
the projected scheme.
As a result of this Agreement, the Punjab asked for a postponement of
the reference to his Majesty-in-Council by six months to enable the financial
agreement to be reached. Obviously the Punjab signified their acceptance of
the Agreement on the Water Clauses to the Governor General. In reply to
this, vide Secretary to the Governor General (Public’s) D.O. No. 204/41-
G.G.-(A) of October 1945, the Viceroy refused the requested deferment, as
this would delay construction work in both Provinces, and suggested that a
clause be inserted providing for arbitration on the financial issue. Sindh
agreed entirely with this stand-point, vide... Secretary to Governor’s
D.O.No.1001, dated 7th November 1945.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 15
Former Chief Engineer and Irrigation Secretary of Punjab Mr.: Pir
Mohammad Ibrahim in his book “Water rights of West Pakistan” wrote in
1948, at page 66 of his book, “The draft agreement between the Sindh and
United Punjab on the clauses of which the Agreement was arrived at after
very careful consideration, Gives the fairest possible distribution of Indus
waters between the Sindh and Punjab...”
The united Punjab government duly confirmed the agreement. Its only
reservations were about the amount payable by it under the agreement to
Sindh. Its letter dated 13. 10. 1945 to Sindh Government on the subject
makes it abundantly clear that the Punjab government fully agreed, without
any reservation whatsoever, with the terms of distribution of water between
the two provinces under the agreement. The letter states inter alia:
E.L.Protheroe, Esquire, I.S.E.,
Secretary to the Government,
Punjab, Public Works Department, Irrigation Branch.
The Secretary to the Government of Sindh,
Finance Department, Karachi.
No.013 Cn. Dated Lahore, the 13th October 1945.
SINDH PUNJAB INDUS DISPUTE
I am directed to acknowledge receipt of your letter No. 1442-W. And
S., dated 2nd October 1945, regarding the above and to say that the contents
thereof have received the careful attention of the Punjab Government.
I am to confirm that the tentative agreement reached by the engineer
representatives of the two governments in their recent discussions at Karachi
are acceptable to the Punjab government, provided it is an accompanied by a
satisfactory solution of the financial issue...”
“This Agreement has been followed, both in letter and spirit, right up
to the break-up of One Unit. This can be seen from the fact that all actual
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 16
distribution of supplies during the period was made on the basis of this
“When the Government of the Punjab proceeded to construct a large
capacity B.S Link, it evoked a protest from the Government of Sindh and the
Punjab Government had to limit the size of link within the capacity
permitted by the Sindh-Punjab Agreement, Similarly, the Sindh Government
proceeded to construct the G.M. and Gudu Barrages as envisaged iii the
Agreement, without any protest from the Punjab. When the late Mr. Gazdar,
Member of the Central Legislature, and himself a competent Engineer,
protested against the Punjab proposals for various links on the floor of the
Central Legislature, the Government of Pakistan gave a positive assurance to
the Sind Government that no works outside the Sindh-Punjab Agreement
would be allowed to be constructed, without full consultation of the
Government of Sindh. (See the Government of Pakistan D.G Letter No. P-19
(67)153 dated 26th March, quoted by G.K. Soomro, “Indus Water
Allocation”, History of the Case, P.144)...”
“Messrs Hunting Technical Services Ltd., who prepared the Lower
Indus Report under the guidance of West Pakistan WAPDA dealt with Sind-
Punjab Agreement in their 1966 Report. In this “Lower Indus Report Part 1,
Chapter 3.5 at Page 47 the company has stated:
“...For many years prior to Independence, the Sind Government was
very concerned lest excessive quantities of water are diverted in the Punjab,
and Sindh in the process deprived of its rightful share.
“It was not until 1945 that an equitable solution was found when the
‘Sindh-Punjab Agreement’ regarding the sharing of the waters of the Indus
and the five Punjab rivers’ was signed. Although the Governments making
this Agreement have now passed into history, the Agreement is still
“This Agreement was the first of its kind, in the known history of subcontinent
when sensitive riparian problems has been solved by mutual
agreement and acted upon by mutual agreement for a very long time. Sindh-
Punjab Agreement of 1945 is thus an instrument of great significance and
cannot be brushed aside as advocated by the Punjab (authorities). In fact by
distribution of waters for all these years on the basis of Sindh-Punjab
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 17
Agreement, the Punjab has established its rights only up to the allocations,
contained in the Agreement. (G.K. Soomro, ibid, P.53)
No life-processes can proceed in an absolute vacuum. Besides the
Sindh-Punjab water dispute, there were many other inter-connected interdependent
and inter-penetrating socio political processes in India which
were not at all at a stand still at all this time. The intensely religious and
revivalist well- wisher and supporter of the British Empire and the great
freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi had taken-over the Congress from the
slow-going moderate liberal and secular Parsi group of Bombay long ago.
The impetus given to efforts for Indian national unity by the 1916 Lucknow
Pact had become a thing of the past. The 1928 All Parties Conference for
Indian unity at Calcutta had miserably failed. In his presidential address to
the 1930 Allahabad Conference of the Muslim League, Allama Iqbal gave a
call for the administrative grouping of Muslim majority provinces / regions
viz Punjab, Frontier, Sindh and Baluchistan within British India. But the
proposal met a cold response from the Muslims of Frontier, Sindh and
There were weighty historical reasons and grounds for this. The rest
of Muslims of India especially those of the Muslim majority neighboring
territories of Punjab viz NWFP, Baluchistan, and Sindh, were not exactly
happy with what they perceived as the aggressively collaborationist role of
the Muslim elites of Punjab under the Sikh and British rules. As for Sindh, it
could not forget that during the Sikh rule, Punjab elites kept constantly
menacing Sindh and trying to subjugate it. Besides its obvious weakness as
compared to the British might, it was the constant, ruthless pressure of
Punjab rulers, which made Sindh absolutely helpless before the British
machinations leading to its eventual subjugation by the British in 1843 (see
“Sindh Since Centuries”- Ranjit Singh’s relations with Amirs of Sindh, P.
260). During British rule, Punjab elites and beurocracies did not give up
attempts to get Sindh annexed to British Punjab. Besides as mentioned
above, Sindh, had the longest and bitterest experience of the extremely
negative attitude of the elites of Punjab in the matter of the wholesale
plunder of its share of the water of the Indus system of rivers. Hence it did
not trust the elite of the most powerful Muslim majority province of united
India and could not afford to throw the fate of their resources, rights and
liberties at the mercy of a united province totally dominated by those most
favored elite of the British Indian Empire.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 18
For the preponderant majority of the Third World Countries,
independence, unfortunately, is almost a myth. In most of such countries the
direct rule of the British, French, Dutch, Portuguaze, Spanish and American
imperialists was replaced by the indirect rule of US imperialism, through the
old imperialist elites and beurocracies of these formally liberated countries.
There has been no dearth of people in the Pakistan ruling class who,
judging by their entire attitude to Pakistan and their haughty behavior with
its peoples, apparently regard themselves as the virtual authorized agents and
successors to, the British Raj directly inheriting the state of Pakistan along
with its powers and resources from that Raj, as a reward, for past services to
the Raj ii and beyond India.
Incidentally, not a few Punjab elites and authorities, rather than
dissociate themselves from the high-handed, aggressive doings of the Sikh
State against its neighbors, lost no opportunity of proudly owning them as
their national heritage, going to the extent that they sometimes are known to
have reckoned sub-continental history from the time of Ranjit Singh only,
forgetting all that was and went before him in the preceding centuries.
Consequently in the historic, founding document of Pakistan, the 1940
Lahore Resolution, subsequently named the Pakistan Resolution, there was
absolutely no mention of Pakistan or for that matter, of any single, united
state of the Muslims of undivided India.
Through this historic 1940 resolution, therefore, the crores of Muslims
of undivided India voiced, their unanimous historic demand that the Muslim
majority provinces of India viz Bengal, Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and the
territory of Baluchistan, the homelands of Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis,
Pashtoons and Baloch Muslims of India should be made independent and
It was for the achievement of the above five independent and
sovereign Muslim states in the Indian sub continent that after the passage of
the 1940 Lahore Resolution and the fixation of the above grand goal, that the
crores of Muslims of the sub-continent waged a historic valiant struggle for
independence which along with other political forces of the country shook
the foundation of the British Empire.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 19
In the mean time, All India elections were announced for 1946. The
Muslims of India duly seized this opportunity and massively voted for the
Qaid-e-Azam and Muslim League who promised them these independent
and sovereign homelands and thus compelled the British Government and
The Congress to recognize Muslim League as the sole representative of the
Muslims of India and a power to be reckoned with, for deciding the future
fate of India.
As it happened, the elected Muslim representatives of India after their
elections in 1946 did not honor this electoral mandate. They decided to
substitute a single state for the proposed five independent and sovereign
states. Incidentally this was the first major historic and fateful violation of
the declared mandate given by Muslims of the Indo-Pak Sub continent to
their elected representatives through their massive vote, which tradition has
been regularly followed in later times till today, with fatal results like the
debacle and betrayal of East Pakistan by military usurpers and their puppet
To allay the well-founded grave apprehensions of the four provinces
and Baluchistan, it was declared that the proposed single state would not be
a unitary but a genuine federal state, consisting of five autonomous
provinces with real equal rights for all provinces. It was judged that the
presence of the preponderant numerical superiority of Bengali Muslims
would never allow any one to dominate the whole country or its western half
in the periphery of Punjab. This totally unexpected new prospect of a single
Muslim state brought a sudden veritable sea-change in the thinking of the
Punjab elites and authorities.
The Punjab elites and authorities who, because of their stead-fast and
powerful military and political support to the British Empire dating back to
1807 Amritsar Punjab-British Treaty, were closer to the imperial
government than those of any other province, possibly soon sensed, after the
above change in the prospects of the Muslims of India, that the British rule
might not last very long and partition may not be far off. They seem to have
surmised that after the end of the period of the relatively fair and impartial
legal supervision and protection of the British rule, Sindh was bound to
succumb to the future unrestrained and irresistible pressure of the elites and
authorities of Punjab as in the radically changed post-partition
circumstances, Punjab was, instead of remaining the respondent and accused
in the dispute, as before, most likely, overnight, to become virtually the
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 20
owner and master of the newly established Muslim state of Pakistan and all
its resources, including the common waters of the Indus river system. They
seem to have guessed that on this old, old vital issue, they would soon be
able to out-wit, out-maneuver and brow-beat Sindh, bring it on its knees and,
in due course, misappropriate the bulk of the waters of the Indus and its
tributaries. In any case, they took a sudden U turn and one sidedly refused to
ratify the 1945 Punjab-Sindh Water Agreement, so painstakingly hammered
out, after prolonged negotiations, under the constant prodding of the British
Indian central government.
The Punjab authority’s non-challantly dismissed their historical U turn
in a couple of innocuous and innocent sentences.
“The two Chief Engineers of the Irrigation Department of the Punjab
and Sindh started discussions... prepared a draft in 1945... (Which) could not
be ratified?” (Indus Water Committee, January 1971, The Punjab Brief,
Whenever there is a partition between countries, new arrangements
for the division of the common assets have to be made.
In 1947, at the time of partition between India and Pakistan, a
committee was constituted by the government of India named committee B,
for making arrangements for the division of the waters of Indus Basin Rivers
between the two countries.
The governments of India and Pakistan were required to place their
problems regarding the distribution of water before this committee. If any
side was to be dissatisfied with the decision of this committee, it could
appeal to the Arbitral Tribunal, which was headed by the Chief Justice of
India, Sir Patrick Spense. The Tribunal’s tenure was up to 31st March 1948.
As stated above, the then West Punjab province and Sindh both were
getting water from all the rivers of the Indus system.
In the case of matters regarding these waters, before partition, both
these provinces were respectively the upper and lower riparian, co-sharers
and beneficiaries of these waters. Because of the partition of India and
Punjab and constitution of the new provinces of West and East Punjab from
the pre-partition united province of Punjab, the Indian province of East
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 21
Punjab is now the first and upper-most co sharer (riparian) of Indus
tributaries, Ravi, Bias and Sutlaj. As between Sindh and Punjab, the
Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh are co-sharers No 2 and 3
respectively. Pakistani Punjab is the lower riparian of Indian Punjab and
Sindh is the lower riparian and co-sharer of both the Indian and Pakistani
provinces of Punjab. Thus as between these two provinces, both Pakistani
Punjab and Sindh are equally interested, affected and necessary parties in all
questions, matters and disputes, both internal and external, pertaining to the
waters of the Indus river system. Consequently as between these two
provinces, without prejudice to the rights and interests of any other
interested and entitled party, all such questions, matters and disputes
were/are legally and morally, under international law as well as the law of
the sub-continent, the equal common concerns of both the above riparian, co
shares, beneficiaries and interested and affected parties viz the then province
of West Punjab (now Punjab) and Sindh. As such, none of them, neither
West Punjab/Punjab nor Sindh by itself and alone, had any right under any
law, whether national or international, to negotiate or decide such questions
with a third party behind the back of the other.
If any negotiations were carried on and decision were made in such
matters, under the circumstances, with any third party with the participation
of only one interested and affected party without and behind the back, of the
other interested and affected party, whether Punjab and Sindh or any one
else, such negotiations and such a decision had and has to be regarded, under
all civilized legal systems throughout the world, as illegal, without
jurisdiction, of no legal effect and void abinitio i.e. as having no legal
existence from the very beginning. It could not be binding on the party
deprived of participation and representation whether it he Punjab and Sindh
or any one else.
More than twenty centuries back, the Roman law declared all adverse
decisions taken behind the back of concerned and affected parties, as illegal.
Their law said in Latin “Audi alteram parterm” or “hears the other (affected
and concerned) party.”
The British law says the same thing in a different phrase, “No one
should be condemned unheard”. Is it Islamic or any other civilized legal
system, you simply cannot take any valid decision behind the back of the
other interested, concerned and affected parties. It will be illegal and
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 22
immoral and not binding at all upon the party against whose rights and
interests such illegal decision is taken.
The law of India and Pakistan is absolutely clear on this vital and
fundamental point of administration of justice. It calls this principle viz that
no valid and binding decision can be legally taken against the interests of
any one, without giving him a full opportunity to present his own point of
view, as a principle of natural Justice. No matter whether a law does or does
not say so, it being a superior law recognized by all civilized judicial
systems of the entire humanity, it is binding on all decision-makers, with or
without any express legislation to that effect by any legislature.
To mention only a few decisions of the superior courts of Pakistan, in
1959 in the case of Chief Commissioner Karachi and another (PLD 1959 SC
45) the Supreme Court of Pakistan observed:
The above rule of natural justice (that an adverse d behind the back of
a concerned party has no legal validity is not confined to proceedings before
courts but extends to all proceedings, by whosoever held which may affect
the person or property or other rights of the parties concerned in the dispute.
As a just decision in such controversies is possible only if the parties are
given the opportunity of being heard [S.C.M.R 2232 (2238)].
In the case of Maryam Tousif (PLD 1990 Sc 666) the Supreme court
of Pakistan observed:-
“From the above stated cases, it is evident that there is judicial
consensus that the Maxim “audi alteram partem” is applicable to judicial as
well as to non-judicial proceedings.
In the case of Dr. Nusratullah Chaudhry [1994 Lah 353 (358)] the
Lahore High Court has said:
“It is an established principle of law that no man shall be condemned
unheard. It has been repeatedly held by the Superior Courts that the rule of
natural justice embodied in the maxim “audi alteram partem” is not confined
to proceedings before courts but extends to all proceedings by whosoever
held which may affect the person or property or other rights of the parties
concerned in a dispute”.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 23
In the case of Mst: Qaisra Illahi (PLD 1995 Peshawar 22) the
Peshawar High Court decided that if any decision is made behind the back of
an affected party, the law will treat such a decision as having no existence at
all. The Court has said:
“It is a well-settled legal proposition that any order passed in violation
of “audi alteram partem” (no body is to he condemned unheard) would be a
In order to deal with the matter of fair and equitable division of water
assets of undivided India, after the partition of the sub-continent, between
the new states of India and Pakistan, each country had to appoint its team of
representatives to negotiate a settlement. In view of the above factual and
legal position, Pakistan had to appoint a team of negotiators from both of the
Pakistani riparians and co-sharers of these waters viz the provinces of West
Punjab and Sindh, which did represent, not technically and formally only,
but in fact and genuinely the interests and view- points of both the riparian
sides who had remained locked in conflict for nearly a century over this very
vital and crucial matter and further, which could reconcile these opposing
interests and view-points in the larger interests of the good of the whole
Thus, in order to he just and proper, valid and legally binding, all
negotiations with India regarding the commonly owned and used common
waters of the Indus river system viz Indus, Jehlum, Chanab, Ravi, Bias and
Sutlej, affecting the respective interests of the two provinces at dispute, were
necessarily to he held by all the three riparians viz the province of Fact
Punjab on Indian side and West Punjab and Sindh on Pakistan side.
But the federal government of Pakistan appointed Ministers and
Officials of West Punjab, riparian No.2, as the sole representatives of
Pakistan to negotiate and decide with India, the riparian No. 1, behind the
back of Sindh, riparian No.3, matters of the division of waters of Indus basin
between India and Pakistan.
Thus with a single ruthless stroke of the pen a long historical chapter;
that of the tradition of the British imperial rule over India, in which all
provinces, had approximately equal rights, could look up-to the central
government for redress and protection against the high-handed actions of
more powerful neighboring provinces, was to be closed. The times when the
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 24
Punjab authorities, almost permanent and regular plunder of common waters
could be regularly challenged, when that central government stayed further
adverse action and got hammered out mutually beneficial compromises and
agreements like the 1945 agreement, had gone for good, making a keen and
sensitive observer of Indo-Pakistan history to commiserate, in spite of all
other just negative observations and sentiments to the contrary with the
Like, the dew on the mountain,
Like the bubble in the fountain,
Thou art gone and gone for ever!
The people of all the smaller/weaker provinces of Pakistan have,
through their bitter experience over the last half a century, come to know
now, to their great sorrow and pain, that Pakistan state is a democracy and a
federation only iii name, is being virtually run as one unit and as a colonial
autocracy and that where and when, there is any conflict of interests between
the vested interests of the neo-colonial masters and their local
representatives the ruling classes of the dominant province, on the one hand
and those of the people of the rest of the provinces on the other, there and
then, the so-called Federal Government of Pakistan, dominated by what ever
civilian or non-civilian sub-servant, autocratic and dictatorial clique, would,
in utter disgard of the common permanent and fundamental interests of all
the deprived and oppressed people of the whole country, including those of
the vast majority of the people of the province of Punjab, throw off their
federal disguise, wipe out the democratic make up and appearing in their
true partisan colors and shouting slogans of “Solidarity of Pakistan” “Glory
of Islam” or “Save Pakistan from internal and external dangers” or whatever,
would pounce upon the weak and helpless common people of the dominated,
nominally autonomous provinces and throttle them into submission and
But at the time, not all people fully understood this sad and tragic
reality or the sordid motives and sinister implications of the above preposterously
illegal and abhorrently unjust decision of the federal government
of the time. No body could have had any inkling as to what havoc of what
gigantic proportions was indented to be played, stage by stage, in the coming
years and decades, with the people of the province, which gave India the
freedom fighter, the Muslims of India the leader and Pakistan the founder
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 25
“The partition of Punjab cut across the rivers and canals of the Indus
Basin irrigation system, making India the upper and Pakistan the lower
riparian. Among the official committees appointed to deal with the various
problems arising out of the partition of the Punjab was committee B. This
committee consisted of an equal number of officials from East Punjab and
from West Punjab, and was charged with settling questions of the future
management of joint assets. the division of other physical assets and their
valuation he report of committee B came up before the Punjab partition
committee, presided over by the Governor and consisting of ministerial
representatives of East Punjab and West Punjab. The partition committee
accepted the matters on which committee B was in agreement, namely that
the pre-partition shares of West Punjab and East Punjab in the canal waters
would he maintained. The partition committee, like committee B, was
however, unable to agree on the valuation of the canal system and it was
decided to refer this question, to the Arbitral Tribunal.” (Chaudhry
Muhammad Au “The Emergence of Pakistan” P.318)
But strange to say, this most sensitive and grave matter of most vital
national interest was not pursued in the Arbitral Tribunal at all, no stay order
was obtained from it till the tenure of the Tribunal expired and as a result,
India, which had become, in the meantime, thanks to The Raddiffe Award,
the owner of two head-works of Pakistani canals, was enabled to stop from
Indian side, the flow of the water from the eastern Indus basin rivers, into
two canals of Pakistan.
Thus the representatives of the then West Punjab, one of the two
affected and adverse lower riparian sides (Sindh and Punjab), whose water
supply had bean put in danger by the Radcliffe Award, did not take the
normal elementary precautions which even a muffusil lawyer of tahsil level
would be expected to take, under the circumstances. Of course, their legal
representative before the high-powered Tribunal, presided over by the Chief
Justice of India, was no muffusil lawyer of tahsil level. He happened to be
none other than the Attorney General of Pakistan, the highest law officer of
the State of Pakistan.
Choudhry Mohammad All observes in his above- mentioned book:
“Despite the fact that the Radcliffe Award had placed the control of
head-works vital for Pakistan in the hands of India, the west Punjab
government remained content because of the agreement reached by
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 26
committee B and the Punjab partition committee, that the pre-partition
shares of water would not be varied. No formal document specifying the
precise shares of East Punjab and West Punjab in irrigation waters was
drawn up and signed. The West Punjab ministers and officials felt assured
by the repeated declarations of their counterparts in East Punjab that there
was no question of any change in the pre-partition arrangements for canal
waters. The East Punjab representatives before the Arbitral Tribunal also
made the same declarations, when the disputed question of the valuation of
the canal system came up for a hearing. Actually, as events showed, the East
Punjab ministers and officials were planning a deadly blow against Pakistan
and were lulling the West Punjab government to sleep with sweet words.
They were waiting for the day when the life of Arbitral Tribunal would
come to an end on March 31, 1948.
“On April 1, 1948, the day after the Arbitral Tribunal ceased to exist,
the East Punjab government cut off the water supplies in every canal
crossing into Pakistan. These consisted of the central Bad Doab Canal
System, the Dipalpur Canal System, and the Bahawalpur State distributary.
“Of this action, Sir Patrick Spens Chairman of the Arbitrail Tribunal,
said before the joint meeting in London of the East India Association and the
Overseas League of February23 1955:-
‘I remember very well suggesting whether it was not desirable that
some order should be made about the continued flow of water... But we were
invited by Attorney Generals [of India and Pakistan] to come to our
discursions on the basis that there would be no interference whatsoever with
the then existing flow of water, and the award which my colleagues made, in
which I had no part, they made on that basis. Our awards were published at
the end of March 1948. I am going to say nothing more about it except that I
was very much upset that almost within a day or two there was a grave
interference with the flow of water on the basis of which our awards had
“...East Punjab now contended that Pakistan had no right to any water
and demanded seignior age charges as a condition for reopening the canals.
There was acute distress, which, with every day that passed, became more
intolerable. In large areas where the subsoil water is brackish there was no
drinking water. Millions of people faced the ruin of their crops, the loss of
their herds, and eventual starvation due to lack of water.”
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 27
(Incidentally the existing situation in Sindh created by the artificial
water-famine imposed upon Sindh, is a hundred times more severe and
disastrous than described above but this time the people facing “the ruin of
their crops, the loss of their herds and eventual starvation due to lack of
water” are merely the people of poor Sindh.)
Indian Punjab adopting the posture of an aggressive bully and
Pakistani Punjab adopting that of village simpletons, trudging home on foot,
after being robbed by big-city cheats of the last penny of their back—fare,
the latter duly raised an anguished hue and cry, promptly marched to Delhi,
instantly acknowledged India as the master of Ravi and Bias and Sutlej,
abjectly signed an strange agreement literally and admittedly dictated by
India, obediently paid signeorage money, thereby legally acknowledging
India as the legal owner of these rivers and got temporary restoration of the
supply of water on the explicit condition that the supply will he gradually
decreased and finally stopped after some time!
“Under the distressful circumstances, a delegation was sent from
Pakistan to Delhi in the beginning of May, 1948, to seek a solution to the
problem. The delegation was led by Ghulam Muhammad, the Finance
Minister of Pakistan and included two ministers from West Punjab- Shaukat
Hayat Khan and Mumtaz Daultana. At the meetings in Delhi, East Punjab
representatives insisted that they would not restore the flow of water to the
canals unless West Punjab acknowledged that it had no right to the water. To
this the representatives of West Punjab could not agree. The Pakistan
proposal that the two governments should submit their differences to the
arbitration of the International Court of Justice was not acceptable to India.
There was an impasse. Ghulam Mohd appealed to Mountbattan who
consulted with Nehru. A statement was then placed before Ghulam Mohd,
and he was asked to sign it without changing a word or a comma - a
condition for restoring the flow of water.
“On May 4, 1 948, the statement was signed by Ghulam Mohd and
two West Punjab ministers on the one hand and by Nehru and two East
Punjab ministers on the other.
“Though India restored the flow of water to the Dipalpur canal and the
principal branches of the Central Ban Doab canals, water was still withheld
from the Bahawalpur state distributary and nine lesser distributaries of the
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 28
Central Ban Doab system. Eventually, considerable areas in Bahawalpur
State reverted to desert. Notwithstanding the compulsion under which the
arrangement was signed, Pakistan performed its part and deposited in escrow
the sums specified by the Prime Minister of India.”(P.3 1 8-321)
But Sardar Soukat Hayat Khan, the then Minister of the government
of West Punjab, who was among the members of the team of West Punjab
which negotiated with the East Punjab authorities about division of common
water assets between India and Pakistan expressly admits that the Pakistani
West Punjab authorities deliberately decided to by pass the Arbitral
Tribunal, entered into direct negotiations and made an undeclared deal with
the authorities of the East Punjab at the meeting of the two sides at
Jallandhar and arrived at an unspecified agreement, the terms of which he
does not choose to reveal.
“The Division of Assets Committee had been in East and West Punjab
and met alternately at Lahore and Jallandhar, the temporary capital of East
Punjab. The rules were that, in case of difference between us, the case would
be referred to the Arbitral Tribunal headed by the chief Justice of India, Sir
“The question of division of water between India and Pakistani Punjab
was to be decided at a meeting to be held in Jallandhar. I attended this
particular meeting along with the secretary-cum-Chief Engineer of the
Irrigation Department Mr.: Abdul Hameed, and the Chief Secretary, Hafiz
Abdul Majeed ICS…. The next day we had to tackle the matter of the
division of water on which our economy entirely depended. We discussed it
amongst our own party and came to the conclusion that even if we took this
problem to the Arbitral Tribunal and got a favorable decision, how were we
going to get it implemented when the Head works had been unfairly allotted
to India, in the so-called Radcliffe Award. Therefore we decided that we
should find a via media to share the expenses of running the Head works and
part of the canal system located in the East Punjab.... The Hindus, after long
discussion, came to an agreement. (“The Nation That Lost It’s Soul” by
Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan-P: 202-203).
“Thereafter the Government of India called a Conference at New
Delhi. Mr. Ghulam Mohammad, who was on fairly good terms with the
Indians, was to lead the Pakistan delegation; Mian Mumtaz Daultana and I
were the other members of the Pakistan Team. Pandit Nehru took up a stiff
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 29
attitude but both of US from the Punjab refused to budge from the
Agreement we had arrived at Jallandhar…. (italics mine RBP)” (ibid, p.204)
Pakistani west Punjab authorities not only did not utilize the bilateral
legal avenue of recourse to the Arbitral Tribunal in order to prevent the
stoppage of water by India, but also took no recourse to the international
legal forum of the World Court at Hague after the stoppage of water, though
it was claimed that no such court could refuse to give relief under
International Law in such a clear case as that of Pakistan. Various halfhearted
and superficial efforts have been made to pass off this secretive and
mysterious, apparently and admittedly disastrous series of misconduct by the
concerned authorities, as innocent errors of judgments, undue credulity and
misplaced trust, rather than to identify, recognize, condemn and punish it as
an ingenious, deep and dark intra Punjab conspiracy to deprive, their
traditional adversary, the lower riparian of the Indus rivers, the province of
Sindh, of its remaining share of the water of the rivers of the Indus system
and divide the loot among the two sister Punjab provinces viz provinces of
West and East Punjab.
Mr. Muhammad Ali tries to take the acts of all those responsible for
this disaster very lightly and to explain away the sordid and heinous affair
and the hand-made “disastrous consequences for Pakistan” created by the
West Pakistan authorities, by attributing them to such categories of petty
wrong-doing as mere “neglect of duty”, “complacence” and “lack of
prudence” on the part of Pakistani West Punjab authorities on the one hand
and to the Machivellian duplicity of the Indian East Punjab authorities on the
other, in keeping with our well-tried and tested and brilliantly successful
policy of portraying ourselves, to our entire satisfaction, as innocent “Babes
in the wood”, after committing every conceivable inhuman and treasonable
act against the nation and the people and every crime against Man and God
e.g. debacles in Kashmir, 1965 and 1971 wars, massacres of our own
citizens in East Pakistan and our continuing and unending disastrous
adventures in Afghanistan. “On the side of East Punjab there was
Machiavellian duplicity. On the part of West Punjab there was neglect of
duty, complacency, and lack of common prudence which had disastrous
consequences for Pakistan.” [The Emergence of Pakistan” p.319 by
Chaudhary Mohd Ali].
This apparently strange attitude is not confined to Mr. Muhammad All
alone. The other stalwart of Punjab Government at the time, Sardar Shaukat
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 30
Hayat Khan also dismisses the grave dimensions of the disaster and the
unpardonable culpability of all those responsible for it in a few formal lines,
as if, such occurrences can only be regretted as unavoidable though
“Alas, in keeping with their (Chanakien) philosophy, they (the East
Punjab Government authorities) reneged later, a day after the end of the
Arbitral tribunal. They stopped our share of the water….. From the
headwork at Madhavpur…. and Ferozpur headwork….. This came as a deep
shock to me.” (Nation That Lost Its Soul’ P.203)
Malik Feroze Khan Noon the ex-Chief Minister of West Pakistan and
ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan also justifies indirectly, in his book “From
Memory” the secretive and declared practical by-passing of the Arbitral
Tribunal by the authorities of both provinces of Punjab which
(a) enabled them to avoid and prevent the issuance of stay order
against possible stoppage of water flow to Pakistan
(b) provided the excuses which both sides needed to fulfill the
requirements of their common criminal conspiracy against the people
of Sindh and Pakistan in the matter i.e. to the Indian East Punjab side
the planned excuse for stopping the flow of water to Pakistan and to
the Pakistani West Punjab side the planned excuse for raising a hue
and cry about devastated fields and cattle dying of thirst etc, thus
totally side tracking and practically eliminating from the agenda of
division of common waters, the above mentionedl887-1948 Sindh-
Punjab water dispute and Sindh’s rights on the common waters and
setting up a totally new stage and scenario for misappropriating and
dividing among themselves alone the common waters of Pakistan
(c) Provided an excuse for treasonable implementation of the terms of
the secret conspiratorial Jullandhar deal under the cover of helpless
unavoidable surrender by West Punjab authorities under the pretended
compulsions of the circumstances in order to save West Punjab from a
most terrible catastrophe. Mr. Noon rules Out, as useless, the other
legal and then available, highest forum for settling disputes about
division of waters between India and Pakistan in the normal course
viz the International Court at Hague, though he concedes that, that
forum was bound to rule in favor of Pakistan under the clear
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 31
international law upholding the rights of lower riparian. Referring to
the “sudden” stoppage of water supply to West Punjab from East
Punjab in April 1948 by Indians, Mr. Noon says:
“The water dispute though not as important as Kashmir, has now been
settled. In 1947, when India stopped the water from the Ravi and Beas, a
large number of our cattle died of thirst and fields remained uncultivated.
The magnitude of our dependence on these rivers was brought home to us. It
was one of the most illegal and crude methods that India could have tried, to
bring us to heel. 1 always resisted any suggestion of ours to go to the
International Court of Justice at the Hague, because no Court could have
denied us our riparian rights of the waters of the Eastern Rivers. But what is
the use of winning suits in Court, if such a decision cannot be backed up by
the physical power to enforce it…. “(“From Memory” by Feroz Khan Noon,
It is the contention and the case of the people of Sindh that the
authorities of the upper/middle riparian, the Pakistani province of West
Punjab (the upper and lower riparian after partition, being Indian province of
East Punjab and Sindh province of Pakistan respectively), took the following
among other, malicious, illegal actions in furtherance of their criminal
conspiracy among themselves and with their former fellow- provincial
Indian authorities of East Punjab to misappropriate the bulk of the waters of
the rivers of the Indus river system to the virtual exclusion of Sindh, the
lower riparian, the lawful co-sharer and beneficiary of these common waters:
1. Behind the back of Sindh, they illegally and wrongfully entered
into a colossal, undeclared, secret and surreptitious collusive deal with
the above-mentioned authorities of the eastern Indian fellow
inhabitants of former undivided Punjab, treating the international
Indo-Pak problem of the just and equitable division of Indus basin
water between India and Pakistan as an exclusively internal family
affair of the inhabitants of the old province of pre-partition, undivided
Punjab to the exclusion and detriment of the fundamental rights and
interests of Sindh and the whole of Pakistan.
2. The totality of their behavior and actions subsequent to this illegal,
secret, fraudulent and collusive deal irrefutably proves that as per the
requirements of the success of the above conspiracy, their object was
to create an artificial major water crisis between India and Pakistan
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 32
and a consequent artificial serious threat to regional and world peace,
so that under the pretext of averting the above artificially created
fictitious threat, the Indian accomplice in the above conspiracy, the
authorities of the East Punjab illegally and unjustly got among other
things, three entire rivers of the Indus system just for pea-nuts and the
other accomplice, the authorities of the then West Punjab, got among
other things, the control and virtual ownership of the three remaining
rivers to the virtual exclusion of Sindh and billions worth of
engineering works constructed ostensibly for the whole of West
Pakistan but in reality for itself exclusively, at the expense of whole of
3. In accordance with that deal, they did not present the just case of
Pakistan as against that of India with regard to these waters, before the
competent legal authority i.e. the Arbitral Tribunal which, had been
set up for the purpose by mutual agreement of both the states of India
4. They did not therefore apply for a stay order to guard against the
imminent danger of stoppage of the flow of the waters to Pakistani
canals from their head-works, now left in India, by Radcliffe Award,
after 1st April 1948 when the interim arrangements were to come to
5. With similar illegal and fraudulent object they refused to accept the
suggested offer of the Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal Sir Patrick
Spence, the former Chief Justice of India, for a stay order to ensure,
continued flow of the then existing supply of waters to Pakistan
pending final decision of the whole matter.
6. They never revealed the agreement that they had admittedly arrived
at secretly with the East Punjab authorities at Jullundher about the
division of water assets between India and Pakistan.
7. In order to provide a fig-leaf cover for their conspiratorial, anti-
Sindh, Anti Pakistan actions, they invented and obliquely peddled a
fictitious excuse expressed through seemingly incidental remarks of
different leaders trying to explain the reasons for their authorities not
taking the normal, proper and agreed course of action of putting their
case properly before the officially created Indo-Pak Arbitral Tribunal,
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 33
and for not obtaining from it a proper stay order against possible
sudden stoppage of water by India.
8. This obliquely and impliedly offered excuse was that it was useless
to go to the Arbitral Tribunal because its decision could not be
implemented against powerful India.
9. Every one knows that India had not suddenly become far bigger
and stronger than Pakistan over-night, in the beginning of the year
1948. The land, people and resources of the territories comprising the
new states of India and Pakistan were never equal. Those of the
territories comprising the present state of India were always greater
then those of the territories comprising the present state of Pakistan.
This obvious fact was known by all when Pakistan was demanded as
well as when arrangements for partition including the constitution of
partition committee and Arbitral Tribunal were agreed upon by both
the India and Pakistan sides. No new revelation about the relative
strength of India and Pakistan had suddenly descended from the
heavens upon the West Punjab authorities to necessitate and justify
their suddenly boycotting the mutually agreed forum of Arbitral
Tribunal and entering into a super-secret, deliberately unwritten and
undeclared, private, intra-Punjab deal in the darkness, behind the hack
of the other people and provinces of Pakistan and declining the almost
express offer of an stay order from the Arbitral Tribunal to protect the
continued flow of water to the concerned Pakistani canals. The actual
purpose was to set the stage for the pre-arranged stoppage of water by
India, raising of hue and cry by West Punjab authorities about Hindu
Chanakian betrayal and impending destruction of Pakistan and
ultimately facilitating and resulting in, the distribution of the bulk of
the water of all six Indus system rivers by the new provinces of the
Punjab viz West and East Punjab among themselves, to the virtual
exclusion of Sindh.
10. Struggling peoples and emerging countries like those of Pakistan
do not face their national problems and challenges in the way the
West Pakistan authorities are shown to have done as the
representatives of Quid e-Azam’s Pakistan. The initially weak peoples
and their emancipation movements, like those of Angola,
Mozombique, Nomibia, South Africa, Algeria, Cuba, Lous,
Combodia, Korea, Palestine etc, do not desist from struggle because
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 34
of the overwhelming strength of their adversaries. Even Pakistan
itself, in subsequent encounters with its powerful neighbor, in spite of
its relative weakness, never boycotted the notoriously weak and
practically worthless international settlement forum of United
Nations, never knuckled under to
India and never entered into any secret un-declarable, shabby dark
deals with it, because of its superior strength.
11. The authorities of West Punjab, the famous erstwhile swords-man
of the British Empire, had not suddenly become transformed into
frightened lambs, trembling with terror at a glance at the mighty lion,
India. They could only have been gambling and play-acting for very
sound, very selfish and highest-ever stakes. Subsequent march of
events has proved that they were indeed busying big-game hunting
and stooping to the above pathetic role only in order to conquer.
12. What they had created the artificial crisis for was not the mere
restoration of water supply for their two affected canals, of course.
They wanted to use the managed discontinuation of water supply for
building darns and link canals in Punjab, in order to siphon away the
bulk of all the Pakistani waters for Punjab alone.
“….I was firmly of the view that the sooner we build our own dams
and link canals the better for our future. When I became Chief
Minister in 1953 I expressed this view to the Central Government and
to Mr. Mueenuddin, C.S.P., who was one of the delegate’s in-charge
of these negotiations on behalf of Pakistan. And I am glad to say that
ultimately my views prevailed...” (“From Memory”, by Firoz Khan
Noon, P: 264)
13. They were laying a death-trap for catching and enslaving the
mighty Indus, the world-famous Lion River and for thus decertifying
and destroying their century-long adversary, Sindh, incidentally the
first gate-way of Islam, the first to pass the Pakistan resolution
through its Provincial Assembly and to give its Provincial Capital as a
gift to Pakistan and the Quid for being made the first official home of
the Quid and the Capital of Pakistan.
14. As soon as the first scene of drama was successfully enacted, the
cat started coming out of the bag. Even the need for keeping up
appearance and some how maintaining the facade of federation and
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 35
respect for the rights of federated provinces was brushed aside. They
straightaway went for Indus and started, behind the back of Sindh, the
survey and planning for misappropriating its water.
“Soon after the Indians stopped the flow of canal waters. I asked West
Punjab engineers to survey sites for storage dams on the Jehium and Indus
rivers. Of these sites Mangla, on the Jehium, was the most promising. On the
Indus River a site at Darband was at first favored, but later studies showed
Tarbela to be more suitable.” (“The Emergence of Pakistan”, by Chaudhri
Mohd. Ali, P: 325)
With the benefit of the hind-sight of the diabolic conspiratorial doings
of our criminalized political system and of the suicidal antics of its neocolonial,
autocratic and oppressive state apparatus, it is no longer necessary
to possess divine powers in order to guess that the Pakistani West Punjab
authorities of the time’ have taken a firm decision to take the fullest possible
advantage of the rare historic opportunity of the formation of a brand new
state expected to fall under the total hegemony of their dominant province
and the permanent elimination of those constant irritants, the continuous
interventions by that busy-body, the central government of British India and
(a) Treat and use the multi-people, federal, democratic and liberal
state of Pakistan envisaged by Mohammad Au Jinnah, as their
conquered territory and make it essentiality a unitary, autocratic and
hegernonistic state of greater Punjab under a euphemistic name-plate
and to use and treat the nominal federal government and its civilian
and non-civilian forces and authorities as the servants and guardians
of the vested inter of the ruling class of Greater Punjab.
(b) Whenever necessary for protecting and advancing the above
vested interests, to ruthlessly resort to draconian laws dictatorial
regimes and pure terror and armed actions.
The first stage of the vision apparently was the economic
conquest of the new country of which the first and main item was
It appears that these adventurous elements conceived a very thorough
and comprehensive long-term multi dimensional and multi-stage plan along
with an extremely clever set of strategy, tactics and policies to achieve their
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 36
object. The subsequent march of events goes clearly to indicate that they
planned to proceed step by step some—what along the following lines:
1. Use the occasion of the post-partition division of water assets between
India and Pakistan to:
(1) Pretend and have it believed that the international laws of river
water rights and liabilities and the concepts of the upper and lower
riparian and their rights and liabilities do not exist or at least do not
apply within Pakistan.
(2) Pretend that, as between India and Pakistan, the lower riparian is
one and not two, only Punjab and not Sindh.
(3) Treat the common waters of Pakistan, passing through Punjab and
Sindh to wards the sea, as the sole property of undivided Punjab to he
divided between its newly created Western and Eastern parts viz the
new provinces of the East and West Punjab.
(4) On the basis of these premises, through the instrumentality of their
subservient central authorities, to bestow the sole right and authority
to negotiate with India for the decision of the common water assets
upon the representatives of the province of West Punjab only, as the
sole owner and master of these Pakistani waters.
2. Strike a secret deal with the authorities of the Indian province of East
Punjab for dividing the entire water resources of the Indus basin among
themselves. Relying upon the fact that the Western and Eastern portions of
the united Punjab had existed as a single entity for centuries and were, as
that single entity, co accused in the complaints lodged by Sindh with the
government of India against united Punjab regarding illegal appropriation of
common waters. Their interests in the water dispute were thus to a very great
extent, identical visa vis Sindh, their common historical adversary. Despite
the pangs and blood-letting of partition, both sides appear to have realized
that this was the easiest, and the most profitable, and opportune thing for
both to do, if they so desired and chose, to exploit to the full, the rare
favorable combination of circumstances provided by that very partition.
3. Under the terms of such a secret deal artificially to create a water dispute
between the co-conspirators, the eastern and western parts of the former,
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 37
united Punjab, by Pakistani western side fore-going the obtaining of the
necessary stay order against stoppage of water supply to Pakistani canals by
India and the eastern side going along with the pre-arranged stoppage of
water of Pakistani canals. Indian Punjab assuming the pose of intransigence
and Pakistani Punjab assuming the pose of helpless and injured innocence.
4. Raise a vociferous hue and cry about the so-called fatal adverse effects of
such pre-arranged stoppage of water and under the pretext of a doomsdaylike
emergency situation; sell away to India three common rivers of the
Indus system for pea-nuts obviously as a part performance of the secret deal
5. Magnify the artificially created water-stoppage into a burning
international dispute threatening international peace and security.
6. Utilize the cold war world environment to involve the western countries
and World Bank in so-called negotiations for the so-called settlement, at the
expenses of Sindh, of the so-called burning international dispute.
7. Ultimately shut the mouth of Sindh by imposing one- unit through
administrative terror, thus eliminating the very existence of Sindh as an
autonomous provincial entity which it had achieved by decades-long valiant
struggle under the leadership of the Quid-e-Azam, as a litigant party and as a
complainant in the historical water dispute with the former province of
united Punjab, now conspiratorially operating against their adversary as two
separate and antagonistic provinces of West and East Punjab.
8. Hiding behind administrative technicalities and in utter violation of the
principles of natural justice, illegally throw out Sindhi representatives from
the negotiating team and act as the sole master of the waters of Pakistan.
9. If necessary have a Martial law imposed as a tool to carry out the unholy
work of the real masters.
It is the firm conviction, contention and case of the Sindhi people that
the series of actions from the day in 1947, Sindh, the lower riparian and the
co-sharer of the waters of the Indus river system was wrongfully,
maliciously and illegally excluded from the Pakistan delegation which
negotiated the settlement of the division of Indus rivers system waters
between India and Pakistan to the latest imposition of artificial water famine
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 38
and Greater Thai Canal and other devices to rob Sindh of the last drop of
water, are parts of a diabolic anti-Pakistan, anti-Sindh criminal conspiracy
spread over the entire period of the existence of Pakistan up to this day.
Needless to say, the above decision of the Federal Government was
totally illegal, without jurisdiction, without any legal effect and void abnitio
i.e. as some thing, which never had come into existence. All agreements and
decisions, emanating from the entire edifice founded upon the illegal and
void foundation of this illegal and void decision of the federal government
excluding Sindh the lower riparian, not to mention the rest of the provincial
interested parties, from the process of negotiations and decisions were void
and of no legal effect in the eyes of the law of the land and the civilized
Of course there is no eyewitness to testify and support the above
So how do you prove such charges without eyewitnesses?
The question is, “are crimes to go un-punished because no one can
swear and say “1 saw this crime being committed?” As a full Bench of the
Supreme Court of Pakistan has said in Fakku Mia’s case (1969 P.Cr.L.J
1193) “when murderers discuss a criminal plan in home, they do not shout
the conspiracy to outsiders to make them eaves-droppers (P: 1194).
It has been laid down by the Supreme Court of Pakistan that in cases
where there is no direct evidence to show in what manner the offence was
committed, the courts must examine the probabilities in the light of indirect
evidence or circumstantial evidence, which, once found to have been
established, may well furnish a better basis of decision than any other kind
of evidence. [SCMR 1969 (2046)].
In the case of Amiruddin (PLD 1967 Lah .1190) the Lahore High
Court has laid down:
“The offence of conspiracy by its very nature is secretive and
surreptitious, and if a rule of evidence.., is laid down to the effect that an
agreement (about conspiracy)... is to be positively proved, the proof of
conspiracy would become impossible”. In the case of Syed Qaim Au Shah
(1992 P.Cr.L.J 242) the Sindh High Court has reiterated the above legal
position and added, “If several steps are taken by several persons, tending
towards one obvious purpose, it can be presumed that these persons had
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 39
combined together to bring that end which their conduct obviously appears
to attain.”(P: 249-50).
In the case of Mukhtar Ahmed (2000 MLD 77) the Lahore High Court
has held: “Conspiracy is an intrigue or scheme which germinates in the dark
alleys of sinister minds and comes to light only when its external results are
known it would be seen that happed of an event or existence of state of
affairs is one thing and proving at subsequent stage the particular manner in
which it had happened or had prevailed are altogether different things. Nonproving
of conspiracy through sufficient evidence of acceptable legal
standard would never mean that such an event had not taken place ...
conspiracy is not easy to prove”. (P: 80-81).
In the case of State V. Manzoor Ahmed (PLD 1966 SC 664) a full
Bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan consisting of M/S Justice A.R.,
Cornelius C.J Hamoodur Rehman and Muhammad Yaqoob, all three former
Chief Justices of Pakistan, laid the law regarding the importance of indirect
and circumstantial evidence as under:
“In case where there is no direct evidence.., it is not sufficient... To
say that since there is no direct evidence to connect any one with the
felonious act, the guilt cannot be fixed.”
In the case of Afzal Hussain (1991 P.Cr.LJ 113) the Lahore I-ugh
Court has said, “The law has always considered the circumstantial evidence
as a lawful guide in the administration of criminal justice and circumstances
established beyond reasonable doubt could furnish a basis for decision,
better than any other kind of evidence……. If some inculpatory
circumstances were found to be incompatible with the total innocence of the
accused or were incapable of any explanation upon any reasonable
hypothesis other then his guilt, then such circumstances could form a valid
foundation for the conviction of the person accused of charge”.
In the light of above position, let us try to find out if the conduct of
the concerned authorities in the above matter is throughout normal and
above board or not? And if not, whether there is any plausible and
reasonable explanation for these abnormalities. The following are some of
the important questions that arise from the way this matter has been dealt
with by the Punjab authorities:
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 40
1. Whether the above mentioned acts of omission and commission of West
Punjab authorities, individually and collectively were in accord with the
usual and normal procedure of transacting official state business and was the
behavior and conduct of the West Punjab authorities in accord with the
normal and proper behavior and conduct of similarly placed public and state
authorities of a federation in similar circumstances?
2. Whether all these strange actions individually and/or collectively can be
taken as merely accidental, individual and isolated acts of several individuals
acting thought-lessly and haphazardly on their own without any common
motive, object, concert and design?
3. Whether as soon as partition of India was decided upon and necessary
preparations for implementing it, including arrangements for dividing water
assets among the two states, were started, those in responsible positions on
the Pakistan side really suffered a sudden attack of amnesia and total loss of
memory and whether, as a result they instantly forgot: -
(1) That Pakistan consisted at the time, of five provinces including
Sindh and not one only one viz West Punjab?
(2) That there are such things as Indian, Islamic and International laws
of river waters?
(3) That such laws have clearly laid down the rights and
responsibilities of the parties called riparian benefiting from the water
of rivers known as upper riparian, middle riparian and lower riparian?
(4) That East Punjab is/was the upper riparian of the eastern rivers
of the Indus river system?
(5) That West Punjab and Sindh are the two lower rip arian of the
above river system?
(6) That no decision can/could be validly taken in the absence of a
concerned or co-sharer party under any legal system of the whole
(7) That participation in the process of the division of water assets
between India and Pakistan, therefore had not to be confined to East
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 41
and West Punjab only but also to be necessarily extended to Sindh the
lower most riparian?
(8) That official talks negotiations and agreements are not to be
confined to whisperings in secret hideouts but recorded properly in
official and legal language not only for the use of those living but also
for State and public record and for those yet to be born in posterity?
(9) That the Indian authorities by whom they claim to have been
suddenly overawed into signing away the three tributary rivers after
1st April 1948 were not total strangers to them and were the very
same people whom their people and leadership were dealing with for
the last nine centuries including the two centuries of British rule, up to
that very date?
(10) That according ,to the entire world-historic practice of sensible
and self-respecting peoples and nations of the world, if some little
area of your vast land is not cultivated and some cattle suffer dearth of
water due to hostile action all that you can and should do, is not
immediately to sell away your entire rivers and get a little water for a
while, to be stopped entirely after some time and not to provide proof
of the said sale as proper legal and complete, by paying money in
token of your surrender of your rivers and temporary purchase of a
little water from them?
4. Whether the Pakistani West Punjab representatives appointed for settling
water distribution problem with India had been given the normal written
instructions regarding what they could and could not do?
5. If so, whether these instructions empowered them to enter into secret
verbal agreements with the authorities of East Punjab without reducing them
6. If so, whether under those instructions, the terms of such verbal
agreements were to be communicated to their principals i.e. the governments
of West Punjab and other provinces and of Pakistan?
7. If so, whether these terms were communicated in writing to those
governments and were available on the record of these governments for all
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 42
8. Whether these terms were ever made public during all these decades
in order to enable the people of Pakistan, to judge for themselves, whether
these were just and fair to all parties concerned, including Sindh, the lower
riparian? If not whether any reasons were ever given or can be given even
now, to the people for keeping them secret for ever? Can these be disclosed
and published to day for public information?
9. Whether any competent higher authority took a proper decision
practically to by-pass the Arbitral Tribunal, decline the available vital stay
order, thus endangering the continued supply of water to the affected
Pakistani Canals, and creating an international crisis? If so, which was that
authority and on what date was this fateful decision taken? Whether that
decision is available on the record? Can it be made available and published
for general public information?
10. Was the Attorney General of Pakistan concerned authorized not only
not to obtain a stay order but even to decline the express offer of Sir Patric
Spense, the head of the Tribunal about a stay order?
11. Whether, in case no such instruction was given to him and he acted in
violation of the letter and spirit of his instructions from the concerned
governments or without instructions, on his own, was any action taken
against him for acting in the manner he had acted, leading to such
“disastrous consequences for Pakistan?”
12. Whether any proper instructions authorized the Central and West
Punjab authorities to agree to the Indian orders to them virtually to sell away
the common eastern rivers and pay seignior age money for the temporary
resumption of supply of water?
13. Whether, in case none of such actions were covered by the
instructions given, were the perpetrators of such monstrous violations of
their specific instructions stopped in their tracks at the very first intimation
of such violations?
14. Whether any explanations from the guilty authorities were called for
and submitted by them? If so where that record is and what exactly does it
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 43
15. Whether any disciplinary action was taken against those found
responsible for what has been judged by the former Prime Minister of
Pakistan. Chaudhry Mohd Ali as at least “neglect of duty, complacence and
lack of common prudence” which had caused “disastrous consequences for
16. The minimum punishment that could be given under the
circumstances for acting contrary to instructions, insubordination and
disobedience in such a matter of life and death of the nation, in the case of
public servant, being dismissal, discharge or at least transfer to some other
duty, was any of these punishments given to those found responsible for the
above disastrous consequences for Pakistan?
17. Whether it is a fact that Khan Bahadur Hafiz Abdul Hamid was the
main West Punjab officer who played the star role in the above-mentioned
shady secret deal with the Indian Punjab authorities which “disastrous
consequences for Pakistan”?
18. Whether this same worthy officer was again entrusted with a leading
role on behalf of Pakistan in the negotiations at the second stage viz those
with the World Bank and other countries of the World which culminated, so
far as one of the main interested and affected parties, Sindh, is concerned, in
the exparte, one-sided, illegal and void abinitio as far as Sindh is concerned,
the Indus Basin Treaty of 1960?
19. Whether there was any special reason or justification for not only not
taking any action in the matter against anyone but continuing to
employ the very same officers who played such admitted havoc in the
very first stage of the talks, in the next stage of the talks also viz the
stage of multi-national talks culminating in the Indus Waters Treaty
Let any honest, sensible and prudent man look at and ponder over the
above mentioned acts and conducts of concerned West Punjab ministers and
high officials, in the light of the above and other relevant questions and
decide for himself whether all the above-mentioned acts and conducts of the
West Punjab authorities could, by any stretch of imagination, be taken as the
above-board acts and conducts of honest and upright men and conscientious
and scrupulous high functionaries and leaders of a civilized state or on the
contrary, the secretive doings of conspiratorial groups of men silently
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 44
hatching-up, planning and perfecting in darkness, an elaborate fraud of
Himalyan proportions, to stab in the back an entire fraternal people, under
the cloak of performing routine and normal federal state functions and
defrauding it of its very life-blood, its water, the source of the life and
sustenance of each and every one of the crores of its men, women and
It is the well considered contention and case of the Sindhi people that
none of the strange, abnormal, unnatural, illegal and high-handed acts of
omission and commission of the Pakistani Punjab authorities mentioned
herein before and herein after can be believed by any stretch of imagination,
to be fortuitous, accidental, un-intentional or un-premeditated. On proper
examination and evaluation of all the relevant facts and circumstances, it
will be found that there can not be any reasonable, credible, lawful and
innocent explanation for them as a whole and that these are totally
inconsistent with the probability of the innocence of the above authorities.
Consequently, apart from technicalities which the Superior Courts of
Pakistan, who “lean in favor of substantive justice” [ Au 1997 CLC 768 (773
E)] and who “have consistently ruled in favor of the principle that
adjudication of disputes should be premised on merits rather than
technicalities” [Afzal 1997 CLC 1080(1083)1, do not regard with much
favor, applying the ultimate test of the concept of proof [Qanun-e- Shahadat]
if an honest, sensible and prudent person were told the story which is related
in these pages, of how the Punjab authorities and the federal authorities of
Pakistan have dealt with the question of the waters of the Indus basin visa
vis the rights and interests of Sindh, the lower riparian, since the days
Pakistan came into existence, he would be fully convinced, without any
reasonable doubt, that Sindh has been made the victim of one of the greatest
and longest continuing criminal conspiracies of world history, aimed at
defrauding it and resulting in, misappropriation, of the bulk of its lawful
share as a lower riparian, in the common waters of the Indus river basin.
Indo-Pak talks for resolving the “water dispute” started in March 1952
under the auspices of the World Bank. Initially engineers from Sindh,
N.W.F.P and Bahawalpur and Khairpur States besides Punjab were included
in the Pakistani team.
The engineers from Punjab reportedly behaved as if they owned all
the waters of Pakistan. Their objectives appeared to be (1) To keep the
Indian side happy. (2) To stick to their secret deal with Indian Punjab, and
get its terms approved by hook or crook. (3) To get a dam and link canals on
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 45
Indus for plundering its water on the pretext of replacing the “losses suffered
by Punjab” due to having deliberately, unauthorized and illegally sold out
the common rivers Ravi, Bias and Sutlaj to India under the secret deal (4) To
enlist Bahawalpur state engineers against Sindh by offering the bribe of
Indus water for Bahawalpur State. (5) To deprive Sindh of its previous
allocations of water. (6) To brow-beat Sindhi engineers into acquiring to
their above high-handed anti-Sindh, unpatriotic projects.(7) To misrepresent,
to their advantage, the facts and figures regarding the waters and
water-supply of Pakistan.
When the negotiation was taken up in Washington, Mr.: M.S.Qureshi,
the member from Sindh complained to the government of Sindh regarding
the above negative attitude. He wrote, “Provincial considerations were
allowed to influence judgment and actions. Indus link (i.e. a link canal on
the Indus for siphoning away its waters to Punjab to the detriment of Sindh
rights-RBP) was at first recommended to government without even a
mention to any of the senior members of the delegation. Mr. Hameed went
to the extent of offering a bait to Mr. Hassan, representative of Bahawalpur
that through such a link Bahawalpur canals at Sullemanki would receive
Rabi supplies from the Indus. Mr. Hassan knew the position of supplies and
as a matter of principle he refused to support him saying that he was there to
fight the case of Pakistan and not of a particular province or state. Internal
disputes were best left over to the future.
“In the same manner every attempt was made to throw out Sindh’s
uses from the western tributaries. Incorrect calculations were embodied in
the Pakistan plan to the effect that not only the allocations of the new
barrages on the Indus would be met in April, May but that there would be
surplus left over for development. Both Mr. Hassan and my self disagreed
and Mr. Tiptons calculations supported our conclusion that in actuality in
most of the years there would be shortages...
“Mr. Hameed regarded Pakistan’s waters as though they were his
personal property. At first his secretary Mr. Khalilur Reehman who is
supposed to be the custodian of his inner feelings, started belittling
allocations and saying that ultimately these rights would be given up. I
protested to Mr. Hameed against this loose talk and made it very clear that
not a single drop of allocated supplies will be parted with.
Later Mr. Hameed told Mr. Sarwar Jan Khan that for sake of an
agreement he would even give up allocations and the same day he told Mr.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 46
Hassan that he would even agree to Marhu Tunnel if Pakistan was given
control over that strip of land. It did not bother Mr. Hameed whether this
additional diversion of water by India did any damage to Pakistan.
“There was thus a difference in outlook which was not very conducive
to good team work
“….Mr. Naseer’s pleading with General Wheeler that they could not
afford to go back without an agreement only convinced the bank that
Pakistan would accept anything for the sake of agreement.
“Even this most detrimental proposal seemed most palatable to Mr.
Hameed. His secretary (Mr.Khalilur Rehmari) and he himself agreed with
Mr. Sarwar Jan Khan (member from N.W.F.P) on about the 1st April 1954
that no decision could be expected from a government that was tottering.
“Decision might as well be taken in Washington and the responsibility
would not be that of Engineers but of someone else.”
It was obvious to the Punjab leadership and its followers from other
provinces/regions from the very beginning, that as long as the then prevalent
political system following, even though crudely, the British pattern, with its
parliamentary rule, Constitutional Assembly, the vexatious Bengali majority,
the irksome federation and its numerous provinces etc existed, they may not
find it too easy to reach their political and economic goals specially the goal
of appropriating the entire waters of Pakistan for Punjab. They seem to have
concluded that much needed to be changed in the system of governance
before it could respond fully to their wishes. How these changes were
effected and how these chimed in with and thoroughly facilitated the Punjab
authorities ruthless exertions for grabbing all Pakistani waters is quite a
dramatic and politically instructive story which is not sufficiently known to
many people in this our blessed and blissfully unaware land of the pure.
Judging by Pakistan’s 56 years, chequered history, quite a few of Mr.
Jinnah’s followers and most of his successors, specially those from the
warrior province of Punjab, never had too much liking for Mr. Jinnah or his
Pakistan as conceived by him. Their known political instincts and mind-sets
tended to place them rather closer t authoritarian worthies of the past, like
Timor, Nadir Shah, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Lawrence brothers and their
ideals of super-strength, natural right of conquest, ruthless subjugation of
subjects and iron rule,., than to modern, enlightened and sensitive people
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 47
like Mohd Ali Jinnah and his ideals of liberal democracy, rule of law, fair
play, equal opportunities for all, strict, impartial and equal treatment of all
manners of people before the law, compassionate and generous treatment of
all kinds of minorities and other weaker and more disadvantaged sections of
the population etc.
Their entire efforts were concentrated upon lifting Pakistan from the
inhibitions and uncertainties of governance in the present to the autocratic
and ruthless latitudes of ruling in the past, where -in every whim and wish of
the rulers would be treated as the ultimate law of the land. They zealously
hurried on upon their journey to that golden past of their dreams. And over a
period of time they achieved remarkable success.
By skillful maneuvering of the socio-economic and political timemachine
and their age-old loyal alliances and cozy ties with the mighty
West, they landed Pakistan back in the pre-British era so that in many
respects it descended far behind the British times.
This rapid journey in time to the past, has much more to do with the
radical evil turn in the prospects of resolving fairly and justly, the centuries
old Sindh-Punjab water dispute, than many people in this country know or
even care to know. Very few in the country know that this backward journey
had started from the very first days of coming into existence of Pakistan.
Mountbatten once spitefully refereed to Mr.Jinnah as “the dying
Muslim leader”. The description was not very far from the truth, however.
Along with his terminal disease, the hostile schemes and actions of Indian
authorities and Mountbatten, he was plagued by the wily intrigues of his
“loyal followers”. No nation on earth could have treated its “Father” in a
more brazenly shameless way than the way Mohd Ali Jinnah was treated by
some of the petty-minded, pygmies basking around him in the reflected
glory of his gigantic personality.
“The complex and intricate task (of setting up the new state of
Pakistan) could only be tackled by the Quid-e-Azam. The challenge was
beyond the limited capacities and mental horizons of the lieutenants who,
while he lived, could only shine in his reflected glory”. (‘Government and
Politics in Pakistan’-Mushtaq Ahmad, P.20)
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 48
The 1953-54 coups of Governor General Ghulam Mohd against Prime
Minister Khuwaja Nazimudin and the Constitutional Assembly etc are
commonly regarded as the first series of coups against Quaid-e-Azam’s
Pakistan. In fact those were the third and fourth such coups. The first and
second were against the founder of Pakistan and the father of the nation,
Quaid-e-Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah himself and his party, when he was
virtually “dismissed” from the leadership of Pakistan Muslim League and
the league was high jacked by his “loyal followers.
“The first meeting of the new Pakistan Muslim League was held in
Karachi in February, 1948 to consider the new constitution and the Rules, an
amendment was moved….that no Minister or other office holder in the
Government should become an office bearer in the League, exception being
made in the case of the Quaidi-e-Azam. The amendment was passed in spite
of his advice against it He declined to accept the exception in his case and
remain the President and left the meeting. Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman was
asked to organize the League and later he was elected its first
President.”(Voyage through History- vol: 2, by Masarrat Husain Zuberi,
Soon after Mohd Ali Jinnah’s death the amendment was duly deleted
and the then Prime Minister became the President of the Muslim League
also! (Zuberi-vol :2 ibid, P.196)
The Qauid was kept in the dark even about such crucial life and death
state matters as the ill-fated tribal invasion of Kashmir. (See K.H. Khurshid
“Memoirs of Jinnah” PP.59,82)
“….The Punjab was Jinnah’s Achilles’ heel, time and again...”
(Ayesha Jalal “The Sole Spokesman”, P.14)
“Jinnah did not get his mandate. He left the Punjab swearing: ‘I shall
never come to the Punjab again; it is such a hopeless place.’(Ayesha Jalal,
‘He called Mamdot and Governor Mudie to Karachi in May and told
Mamdot... “He was useless as a Prime Minister, which,” Mudie reported,
“was only too true. He [therefore, nominated Mian Mumtaz Daultana” to
take control of the Punjab ministry, but Daultana “refused...Jinnah was very
angry and the meeting was adjourned…. I then asked what his advice to me
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 49
would be as a friend. He replied ‘Wash your hands of them, as Jam going to
do’. (Stanely Wolpert “Jinnah of Pakistan” P.360-361)
“Did not his Military Secretary, an Englishman, say that “when he left
for Lahore he looked sixty and he returned a very old looking man of
eighty”. After his return a queer apathy gripped him” (Zuberi-vol: 2 ibid,
Quide Azam’s following most meaningful introspective observation
during his 11th August 1947 speech in the Constitutional Assembly of
Pakistan at Karachi clearly indicates that though he was always full of hope
and determination to succeed, he had absolutely no illusions about the then
existing state of affairs and was fully aware of the formidable obstacles,
pitfalls and deep-going uncertainties as embodied by internal rot and
treachery and foreign menace, around and ahead of him and Pakistan:
“It was almost as if he was thinking aloud, when affirming that
partition was the only solution to India’s constitutional problem, he, added,
‘May be that view is correct, may be it is not, that remains to be seen.”(From
Quide Azam’s speech in the Constitutional Assembly of Pakistan at Karachi,
on 11th August 1947, quoted in Iqbal Akhund “Memoirs of a Bystander”
In February 1948, General Messervy the then British Commander-in
Chief of the Pakistan Army visited Delhi at the end of his service and br
Mountbatten and Pandit Nehru at a luncheon given by Mountbatten.
Mountbatten says, “Prior to the P.M’s (Nehru’s) arrival.... General Messervy
said that Jinnah had become more and more impossible and was afraid he
was in an advanced stage of megalomania. It was generally felt in Pakistan
(and had even been expressed by Mr. Liaquat Ali khan) that Mr. Jinnah’s
usefulness had more than expired and that he was now an obstacle and
positively a menace, but nobody could see any way of getting rid of
him”.(’Mountbatten and Independent India’ -Larry Collins & Dominique
On the last day of his life, the Government of Pakistan could not pare
even a single ambulance in working order for the return journey of the ailing
founder of the country from Ziarat:
“We had hardly gone four miles (from Mauripur Airport to Governor
General’s House) when the ambulance stopped..... there had been a
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 50
breakdown.... The driver fiddled with the engine for about twenty minutes
and the ambulance could not start. Miss Fatima Jinnah sent the Military
Secretary to fetch another ambulance.... It was very oppressive in the
ambulance and the Quide-i-Azam was perspiring…...I kept on looking
distractedly towards the town but there was no sign of an ambulance. I felt
utterly forlorn and hopeless. After an excruciatingly prolonged interval, the
ambulance appeared at last….. Nobody knew that the Quide-i-Azam was
being taken in critical condition through the streets of Karachi.” (“With the
Quide-i-Azam During his Last days” Lt. Col. Dr. Ilahi Bakhsh, ibid P.47-48)
“Quaidi Azam fought his entire battles single handed. He suffered
patiently and alone...” (Miss. Fatima Jinnah preface to Lt. Col. Elahi
Bakhsh’s “Quid-e- Azam during his last days” P.3 2)
He died an utterly abandoned, betrayed and broken hearted man in
pitiable and mysterious circumstances.
Soon most of the Pakistan Muslim League stalwarts received their
Almost the entire working committee of the Pakistan Muslim League
was ‘rewarded for their services to the nation’ and got rid off, with
Ambassadorships and governorships. (Zuberi, ibid, P 197)….
“After the assassination of Liaqat Au Khan (in 1951) the effective and
operational power in Pakistan passed to the higher echelons of civil and
military beaurocracies.” (“Pakistan the Unstable state”-Hassan Gardezi and
Jarnil Rashid, P.102)
These events culminated in the state governance further descending
into an abysmal pit of medieval intrigue, and plain criminality.
Lawlessness, despotism and tyranny became the order of the day, ever
since these early days of the state of Pakistan.
This was exactly the ideal negative Socio-Political and legal-ethical
environment required for the commission, with absolute immunity, of all
kinds of acts of brigandage and plunder, especially of the common national
waters, by the ruling elites and self-imposed authorities of Pakistan.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 51
All theoretical obstacles and road-blocks in the country e.g. the
concepts of the rule of law, federalism, constitutionalism, division and
balance of power etc in the path of neo-colonial masters and their local
satraps were be swiftly broken down and thrown to the way side.
Ruthlessness was to be the magic word for subjugating and keeping Jinnah’s
Pakistan in perpetual bondage of the neo colonialists and their native
stooges, amid the loud corus of the slogans of “Quide-Azam Zindabad”,
“Pakistan Zindabad”, “Islam Zindabad”. Things started moving, historically
speaking, at a supersonic speed.
Governor General Ghulam Mohd dismissed the elected Bengali Prime
Minister Nazimuddin on 17.4.1953. Again the United Front government of
Fazalul Haque in East Pakistan which swept into power with an over
whelming majority in the February 1954 elections was dismissed only 2
months after taking office, placing the province under General Iskandar
Mirza’s Governor’s rule. After five months, on 24.10.1954, Governor
General Ghulam Mohd dissolved the Constitutional Assembly, in a truly
James Bond setting:
“……The coterie.. .(Secretary General Chaudhry Mohd All, Governor
General Ghulam Mohd, Defense Secretary Iskandar Mirza and C-in-C,
Army, Ayub Khan—RBP) could be termed the “gang of four.”(Zuberi, ibid,
The (Bengali) Prime Minister Mohd Ali Bogra, Ayub Khan and
Iskandar Mirza were urgently summoned from USA and Britian.
“The Military Secretary met the V.I.P. arrivals at the airport and the
Prime Minister, accompanied by the two Generals, was whisked straight to
the Governor General’s House... Governor General roundly abused the
Prime Minister and asked the two General’s to take him away. Lahore
dungeon with muscled jailors, torturing him with their jibes and mocking
smiles, crossed his mind.... After a long huddle between the two Generals
and the Governor-General, the Prime Minister was informed that the arrant
Constituent Assembly was being dissolved…… He would remain Prime
Minister.”(Zuberi, ibid, P.223-224)
The act was ratified by the Federal Court of Pakistan headed by Mr.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 52
“Chief Justice Munir himself admitted ‘the mental anguish caused to
the Judges by these cases was beyond description and no-where else in the
world had the Judges to pass through what may be described as judicial
torture.”(Justice Munir’s speech in the Lahore high Court Bar Association
April22, 1960 quoted by Mushtaq Ahmed in his “Government and Politics
in Pakistan” P.33)
“Thus ended with a bang….the Parliamentary System.”(Zuberi, II,
“As M.J. Akbar says in his book “India: The Siege Within, “…. It was
open house for schemers.. .After the coup from above, policies (in Pakistan-
R.B.P) degenerated into scramble for power in which the winner was to be
backed.” (Burhanuddin Ahmed: “The generals of Pakistan and Bangladesh”
Thus the way was cleared for destroying the federal foundation of
Quide-Azam’s Pakistan and for transforming the homelands of Pashtoons,
Sindhis and Balochis which had agreed to constitute Pakistan as a group of
independent and sovereign fraternal states as envisaged by the 1940
resolution and subsequently allowed themselves to be persuaded to join and
constitute Pakistan as a single fraternal federation of equal partners, into
captive pieces of conquered territory, their resources, chiefly water, land and
jobs being ear-marked for loot and plunder as a “war booty”. One-unit was
to he imposed.
“Doultana had prepared his “Document” (for eliminating provincial
autonomy) in September 1954. General Mohd Ayub Khan had on 4th
October 1954 sent his detailed proposals…….. There was not much time left
to loose.” (Zuberi vol: II P.222-223)
“Speed, if possible, supersonic speed, was needed.” cried Mohd Ali
Bogra, the, puppet Prime Minister. For the Punjab leaders turned historians,
all history began with the advent of Sikh State in Punjab.
“The Provinces in West Pakistan were of recent 20th century creation-
N.W.F.P. was separated from Punjab in 1901 only, Sindh became a separate
province only in 1937 as a result of the Muslim demand of common
nationhood and in any case would have become part of the Punjab had its
conquest by the British not preceded final defeat of the Sikhs Administrative
boundaries depending on timing of alien conquest had no sanctity and the
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 53
Provinces as constituted in 1947, had no linguistic or ethnic unity.” of
Punjab leader Nawab Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani, in the Constituent
Assembly of Pakistan [Vol.1, Part 1 of 1955 (pp.784- 809) quoted in
“Voyage through History”- Masarrat Husain Zuberi, Vol: 1, P.240].
“Barring the Punjab Muslims, over whom ruled Ranjit Singh and his
European Generals, like Avitabile, the Italian General at Peshawar (who
used to hang six Pathans outside his porch before breakfast and before
receiving any visitors) if the British had not come, Ranjit’s five European
Generals, with their armies trained under them, would have conquered
Kabul as well as Sindh and Baluchistan. The arrival of the British saved the
Muslims of north-western India.” (“From Memory”, by Firoz Khan Noon, P:
“There is no justification either politically or administratively for
maintaining the existing Provincial divisions in West Pakistan. They are not
warranted by geographic, ethnic, cultural or economic consideration…. both
West and East Pakistan are placed on a footing of equality promoting a
feeling of partnership. These two units will then go forward in an honorable,
mutual, beneficial, complimentary and enduring partnership, thus advancing
the prosperity of the country as a one whole”, declared Mohd Ali Bogra.
(Zuberi, Vol. II, P.242-243)
A reign of terror was let loose on members of the Assemblies of the
provinces marked for elimination.
One-unit was imposed on 15.10.1955. The first thing that needed to be
done was to ensure unhindered criminal manipulation and misappropriation
of the entire water of the Indus River System “The team negotiating with
India and World Bank regarding these waters which included representatives
of Sindh and N.W.F.P. was disbanded and a fresh negotiating team
constituted. All…..members from smaller provinces were dropped and
following members, all, without exception, from Punjab, included:- Mr. G.
Mueenudin, K.B.M. Abdul Hameed-C.E Punjab, Mr. Khalil-ur-Rehman, Mr.
S. Kirmani, Mr. S. I. Mehboob, Mr. S.M. Niaz, Mr. Altaf Hussan”.
(“Kalabagh Dam”, by Abrar Kazi,P: 29-32).
It may be pointed out that there was no dearth of senior and competent
engineers in Sindh, Frontier, Balochistan or Bahawalpur to present the case
of Pakistan. Among them was Sindhi senior Engineer Mr. A.R.Kazi S.Q.A
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 54
former Chief Engineering Advisor to the government of Pakistan who was at
that very time serving as Chief Engineer (water) WAPDA. But he was not
taken on the Pakistan negotiating team.
On 8th October 1958 President Iskandar Mirza imposed Martial law
in league with General Ayub Khan and provincial Cabinets and Central
Cabinet were dismissed. After about two weeks, “on the night of 27/28
October, Ayub Khan sent three Generals — Burki, Azam and Shaikh to the
President to ask him to resign…. Mirza first resisted. But General Azam
pulled out his pistol, upon which he signed the letter of resignation...” (Lt.
General Jahan Dad Khan “Pakistan Leadership challenges” P.38). Ayub
Khan appointed himself the President of Pakistan.
“The new regime won the approval of the West although it was the
abnegation of the values of the free world. As Charles Burton Marshall
observed, the debacle was presented “in terms of accomplishment, as if
some thing fine and constructive had taken place when the political
institutions were overturned and thrown aside...” (“Generals of Pakistan &
Bangladesh”, Borhanuddin Ahrned, P.10)
At this stage one is tempted to ask “How come that, unlike their
Hindu compatriots, the Muslims of India, specially those of the Muslim
majority provinces, instead of going forward after achieving freedom from
foreign yoke, and winning social, cultural, political and economic progress
in the world through unity, fair play, democracy, up-lifting the masses,
releasing their vast un-tapped energies and through nation building in all
fields, reverted to the blatantly. reactionary, exploitive and oppressive ways
of governance typical of the darkest periods of their medieval history?” The
answer is to be found in both the old and recent past of the history of the
Muslims of India.
(1) The vast majority of the Muslim masse in these areas were living
since centuries under the out-molded, reactionary, anti-people and
oppressive tribal, feudal and imperial systems in a state of abject
poverty, illiteracy, superstition and rightlessness.
(2) The British were mortally afraid of the of the masses of the
Muslim world in view of the past history of Arab conquests, six
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 55
Empire in eastern Europe, European conquests of the Muslim world
and the fact that Muslim territories were strategically spread from the
Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and it was known that once they
attained the capitalist socio-economic mode of life and production,
they were bound seriously to threaten the Western hegemony over the
world. Therefore the British wanted them to remain, away from
enlightenment, political consciousness and mass power in the same
weak, back-ward, helpless and wild state in which they were living in
the grip of reactionary tyrannical and oppressive social forces since
“The provinces of Punjab, Frontier and Baluchistan, had also been
isolated from the political influences of the nationalist movements as a
matter of deliberate imperial policy due to the strategic significance of these
areas and their value as a source of recruitment for the army.”
(‘PAKISTAN-A STUDY OF POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS-1947-97’,
Hamid Yousuf, P: 26)
“....the limited reforms of the 19th century….were not extended to the
Muslim majority areas of the West, the process remained the same. Till 1947
Baluchistan was denied all the reforms of self Government introduced in
other Provinces.”(’Voyage through History’- Masarrat Hussain Zuberi, P. 1
“Britian’s administration of the (Muslim majority-RBP) north-west
region of the subcontinent had been different from that in the other parts of
India. (‘THE DESTRUCTION OF PAKISTAN’S DEMOCRACY’- Allen
McGrath, P: 6-7)
(3) During the 700 years long Muslim rule over India, the role of
Muslim ruling elites was mostly that of privileged parasites that lived
mostly by the sword, monopolizing all wealth and power, without
having to learn too many hard skills. The common Hindus had to do
the meaner jobs and learn all kinds of skills and professions merely to
survive. Their turn came after the advent of the British power to
employ those skills and professions to become the favorite subjects
and junior partners of the new rulers, whereas Muslims refused to
awaken from the dreams of the past.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 56
“After the unsuccessful Indian Mutiny of 1857 against the British “the
Muslims..... could not….. find themselves willing to adapt themselves to the
change They had been rulers and soldiers and very few of them had taken to
trade or professions.
As against this, the Hindus welcomed the change.. .The memory of
700 years rule by Muslims was rankling in their heart The Hindu... has a
remarkable capacity for adaptability. . . They learned English avidly as they
had learnt Persian so that they easily found posts... in the new
administrations... But the Muslims could not get over their superiority
complex…and the English language and Western Civilization continued to
be anathema to them. . . .they were looked down upon with contempt (by the
British) their position had become in fact pitiable.”(’FROM JINNAH TO
ZIA’- Muhammad Munir Chief Justice of Pakistan (retd) P: 3-4)
“Hindus…..were the readier and more willing to take to western
education and learning, which brought into existence “a new integrated all-
India class with a varied back ground but a common foreground of
knowledge, ideas and values.” From the political aspirations of this class
was born modern Indian nationalism.”(PAKJSTAN- A Study of Political
Developments 1947-97, Hamid Yousif, P: 2)
“...The traumatic turn of events made them (the Muslims) look
inwards for religious purification to meet the new challenge. The so-called
Wahabi movements could not gather political support...” (ibid, P: 9)
“….the opportunities made available during British rule for
participation in government had been refused out of fear, suspicion, or pride.
Many religious leaders felt they must remain uncontaminated by Western
ideas for fear that the religious way of life of the people would be
subverted…. (‘The Destruction of Pakistan’s democracy’ - Allen McGrath,
“…..(The Muslims) despised the infiltration of western influence and
culture, including the language of the new rulers of India.”(Government and
Politics in Pakistan’-Mushtaq Ahmad, P: 1)
“They (Hidnus) adapted themselves more readily to the new order and
took full advantage of the economic opportunities in the field of industry and
administration. The result was that, generally speaking, they forged ahead of
the Muslims who were smarting under a sense of frustration and defeat...
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 57
“The Hindus not only prospered economically but also acquired a new
consciousness as a separate political entity....” (Ibid, P: 2)
(5) In the next phase, when thanks to-the heroic, pioneering,
enlightening and civilizing role of people like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan,
Syed Ameer Ali, Hassan Ali Effandi and a few others. Muslim
educated starta was created and the fairly well-educated politically
active Hindu starta having gained sufficient political skills and selfconfidence,
advanced to the stage of demanding their rights with some
force, the British took alarm and started looking for fresh battalions of
henchmen, a number of Muslim feudal-elites and service-men took a
U turn from their previous aloofness and became ultra-loyalist and
mercenary pillars of imperialist rule. They were rewarded royally and
semi-officially established as parasitic bullies over their own poor
people. They lived by white-collar and “gentlemanly” social,
economic and political lawlessness and crime. Toadyism, exploitation
and oppression became the semi-officially encouraged and socially
tolerated and expected way of their life.
Many a politician and official who usurped and exploited political
power in Pakistan through lawlessness and political crimes belonged to the
above category: -
“...a form of government was installed in the Punjab different from
that in Bengal. Government in the Punjab was to be by individuals rather
than by regulations
“What need or room for written laws, politicians and assemblies, or
haggling lawyers? This tradition was part of the background of such British
trained men as Ghulam Mohad, Ayub khan, Iskandar Mirza, Chaudhri Mohd
Ali, and Mohd Munir, who were to play important roles in Pakistan in the
years after independence. They were all from the Punjab, and all were
former members of the civil, military, and judicial bureaucracies which
administered the machinery of government under the British.”(’The
Destruction of Pakistan’s Democracy’- Allen Mcgrath, P: 7)
“Resistance to usurpers is not part of our culture nor in accordance
with the best traditions of our society.”(’Pakistan a Dream Gone Sour’-
Roadad Khan, P: 42)
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 58
By a notification dated: 10th June1959, the military government of
Ayub Khan constituted a body named Indus Basin Advisory Board (IBAB)
to evolve the best plan for meeting the water shortage caused by the sale to
India of Ravi, Bias and Sutlaj. No representative from Sindh or any other
region/province other than Punjab was taken on this Board. Thus the IBAB
plans, decisions and the International negotiations based on the above plans
and decisions were purely a Punjab affair.
At that time the Sindh engineer mentioned earlier, Mr. A. R. Kazi,
S.Q.A (later Chief Engineer Advisor to Government of Pakistan) who was
the senior-most Civil Engineer serving in Pakistan was Chief Engineer
(water) WAPDA, but was not included in the IBAB, although it was
WAPDA which had to get the proposed works constructed.
The core issues involved in the negotiations leading to the 1960
Treaty were intertwined with and over-lapped the core issues of the Sindh-
Punjab Water Dispute 1857-1960 (now 1857-2003). The treaty negotiations,
though formally and apparently confined to the points at issue between
Pakistan on the one hand and India and the donor countries on the other,
provided an excellent and ideal opportunity and cover to the Punjab
authorities, suddenly to transform themselves from being accused for a
century of excessive appropriation of common waters, in the historical
matter of Sindh-Punjab Indus Basin water dispute, to becoming the virtual
sole owners and disposers of the case property viz the water resources of
Pakistan. They forthwith set themselves up as the self appointed judges in
their own cause. The IBAB, waving the flag of an impartial federal national
planning body of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, under the garb of
“planners” for the greatest national good to the greatest number of the
people of the whole of West Pakistan including Sindh, simply dismissed,
without taking any notice of, Sindh’s century-old case against Punjab
authorities by the simple, stratagem of “p1 it out of existence though a
“national plan” for negotiation where by the entire flow waters of Jehlum
and Chenab, stored water of Mangla Dam and the bulk of Tarbela dam on
Indus were allotted to Punjab under one or the other pretext.
All complaints, principles, previous decisions and arguments were
quietly and impliedly, thrown into the dustbin of history under the
smokescreen of national planning and international negotiations.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 59
“...as One Unit Administration had come into being from October 14,
1955, the Punjab found it expedient to push through its own proposals for
the full development of the Punjab through the proposed system of works
(exclusively in Punjab-RBP) required under the Treaty, and this it proceeded
to do, by making the IBAB co-ordinate all planning within the country on
the one hand, and provide the sole link with the Treaty Delegation and the
Bank Consultants on the other.” (‘Indus Water Allocation-History of the
Case’, G. K. Soomro, P.139)
“The purpose of the IBAB proposals mainly was the obtaining of the
maximum amount of funds for enabling as big a system of works to be
constructed (in Punjab-RBP) as possible. In this objective they succeeded by
getting, in addition to the fixed contribution of India of $175 million, a free
grant of $ 175 million from the Consortium Countries, and a loan of $ 150
million. The Supplemental Agreement of April 1964 got Pakistan an
additional $ 315 million in foreign exchange for the Projects.
“The IBAB succeeded in doing, on the home front, what all previous
Governments in the Punjab could not do, simply by the device of providing
the construction of Storages and Links (in Punjab only), completely unconnected
with the strict function of replacement, a situation which could
never have materialized, had the Sindh Government been in existence, or
had the interest of the peasantry of Sindh been kept in view. This became
possible for them by keeping Sindh’s representation out of IBAB, and by not
having any protest from any quarter interested in Sindh. The Irrigation
Department of West Pakistan was also headed, at that time, by an officer
from the Punjab (Mr. Mahbub). To prevent any individual from raising any
issue, strict secret instructions were issued to all to keep silent about all the
decisions.” (ibid, P.140)
It may be emphasized once again that the order of the government of
Pakistan constituting such a Board without any representative of Sindh,
along with all the proposals and plans and all decisions made and
agreements signed by this Board adversely affecting the rights and interests
of Sindh were under the circumstances to that extent, violative of the binding
principles of natural justice, illegal, of no legal effect and void from the very
In order properly to under stand the callousness, chicanery and high
handedness employed by vested interests against the smaller provinces
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 60
specially the people of Sindh in the matter of fair allocation of water
resources, it will be helpful to bear in mind the following facts and
(1) Being unrepresented in the 1948 Indo-Pak ostensible negotiations,
much less, in the surreptitious and secret Jullander deal, between West
and East Punjab authorities, regarding waters of Pakistan viz those of
the Indus River System, the smaller provinces were not and are not
morally, politically or legally bound by the decisions in the above
dealings behind their back and to their disadvantage.
(2) These provinces, including Sindh, could not and cannot be held
responsible for the losses deliberately incurred by the province which
sold such common rivers behind the back of the other co-sharers.
(3) The said provinces including Sindh cannot be morally or legally
punished and burdened with any compensation to the affected Punjab
canals for any losses caused by the authorities of that province by
their unilateral, conspiratorial and malafide wrong doing.
(4) On the other hand, the water losses suffered by Pakistan were not
confined to one province viz Punjab. Other provinces, chiefly Sindh,
also suffered considerable water-loss due to the illegal sale of the
three-tributary Rivers of the system. The authorities of Punjab were
and are morally and legally bound to compensate adequately the
deprived province, Sindh, to the extent of its actual loss of supply of
1.92 MAF in Rabi and 29.36 MAF in Kharif which it received at
Panjnad. This is the average of the 10 years prior to partition i.e.
1936-37 to 1945-46 from the illegally sold rivers.
(5) The compensation obtained from India and the loans obtained
from the World Bank and from Canada, Germany, Australia etc were
obtained for and were payable by, not only Punjab region/Province
but for the entire West Pakistan including Sindh, N.W.F.P and
Balochistan regions/Provinces and were payable by all of them plus
Under annexure D to the “Indus Basin Development Fund
Agreement” 1960 prepared and got approved by IBAB itself, the “System of
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 61
works to be constructed by Pakistan” was for entire West Pakistan and not
for Punjab alone and it had to,
(b) Provide substantial additional irrigation in West Pakistan.
(d) Make an important contribution to soil reclamation and
drainage in West Pakistan by lowering down water levels in
water-logged and saline areas.
(e) Afford a measure of flood protection in West Pakistan.”
Hence these funds were required to be spent and works to be
constructed in other regions / provinces as per their entitlement
as co-riparian and not just in the one region / province, Punjab.
(6) Punjab has/had lots of under ground water, “The total ground
water being used only in tube-wells in the Punjab was, in 1971, many
times more than the combined total capacity of Mangla and Tarbela
Dams.”(Abdul Wahab-”Sindh Water Case” P.47). Its average annual
rain water quantity is the highest in the former West Pakistan / present
Pakistan. In Sindh both these sources of water supply are negligible.
(7) That fairness, justice and equity demanded that the term “waters of
Pakistan” should be held to include (a) flowing (b) storage (c) under
ground and (d) rain waters in the country and its provinces.
(8) In view of the agreement of Punjab authorities for their selfserving
purposes, in 1948, to pay seignior age charges to India for the
waters used by Pakistan after partition, thus recognizing the right of
India to cut off waters from the date of partition, the Indus water
Treaty 1960 gave the right to India to the three Eastern Rivers from
the date of partition, and not the date of signing the Treaty.
(9) Any level of uses higher than the one enjoyed up to the 15th of
August, which may have been developed subsequently, after the
partition of the Sub-Continent, could not be the level for the purpose
of replacement under Article IV (I) of the Treaty. Thus what were lost
by Pakistan were the water supplies that this country was getting from
the Eastern Rivers up to the 15th of August, 1947 and the level of uses
which these particular canals had attained by 15.8.1947.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 62
(10) While deciding the quantum of replacement supplies, it had to
be determined as to what was the dependable availability in the
Eastern Rivers flowing down to Pakistan on the cut off date. This
availability had to be determined on the normal basis viz 3 to 4 year
basis. Thus when it was claimed by Punjab authorities that supplies of
24 MAF were coming to Pakistan on the relevant date, the dependable
supplies on the 3 to 4 years basis came down to 17 MAF. Again there
may be a quantum of dependable availability, which may not be fully
utilizable due to a variety of reasons. Hence quantum of actual losses
had to be calculated as per the quantum of actual utilizability out of
the total quantum of dependable availability.
(11) This level of utilizable supplies determined the top level
exceeding which would have meant exceeding the rational and
equitable boundaries of proper “replacement”.
(12) It would have been found that the justly due replacement
supplies so far as the affected Punjab canals were concerned, were
3.12 MAF during Rabi and 10.67 MAF during Kharif. Against this
quantum of replacement supplies, Punjab was demanding replacement
supplies of the order of 21.12 MAF and even more at the cost of
N.W.F.P, Sindh, Baluchistan and East Pakistan. Thus without
spending anything Punjab was demanding development at the cost of
other provinces of Pakistan. (‘Wahab Shaikh’-Sindh Case, P.88)
(13) When Punjab authorities talked about replacement supplies, it
should have been understood that their demand over and above the
real replacement demand was for development of Punjab and not for
replacement supplies to the old canals. It was therefore necessary that
a line of demarcation was drawn between the replacement component
and the development component as available from the total system of
(14) If Punjab had to develop water potential, it had to spend huge
sums of money and that would have been borne by the Punjab and not
by the other provinces of Pakistan for the Punjab. Therefore the real
question of true replacement supplies had to be determined, keeping
in view all the above aspects.(ibid, P.89)
(15) Since all the provinces of Pakistan had to bear the burden of
replacement supplies, it was necessary that limits of replacement were
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 63
not exceeded and Punjab should not have got more water for its own
development at the cost of others on the plea of replacement supplies.
(16) The development supplies made available by carrying out of
works under system of works had to be equitably shared between all
canals in West Pakistan keeping in view the availability of ground
It is the contention and the case of the people of Sindh that having set
themselves up as the sole owners, dealers and distributors of the waters of
Pakistan, the Punjab authorities, through IBAB, in violation of even the
biased terms of the appointment of the Board, purported to apportion these
waters according to their sweet will:
(1) For this Board, Pakistan was the other name of Punjab. While
talking about Pakistan, it generally meant only the province of Punjab.
(2) It paraded Punjab authorities avaricious and never ending demands
for more and more water at the cost of other riparians specially Sindh,
as “the essential needs of Pakistan” in the working paper it prepared
for Ayub Khan, the then President of Pakistan on the eve of the World
Bank Mission’s visit to Pakistan in May 1959. This paper was
included in the Pakistan Government Report on the negotiations with
the World Bank Group on 16th to 18th May 1959. Specifying
“Pakistan’s essential needs” the Board said “Pakistan’s essential needs
are increased uses of the linked canals (of Punjab R.B.P)”(Para 4(b) P:
15 of the Report). “On the Tributary Rivers (of Punjab-R.B.P) alone
23 MAF is required for the eventual control of salinity and that
immediate requirement is 3.5 MAF.”
(3) It practiced jugglery with facts and figures .and invented its own
concepts and terminology e.g. Zoning, Indus Basin Settlement Plan
and Indus Basin Project etc to serve its partisan objects.
(4) It did the planning in such a way that in the case of Punjab instead
of using the allocations for the developed projects, it adopted their
increased developed uses up to 1956, where as in the case of Sindh
projects, the proposed Provision was made less than what was already
allocated to them under the Sindh Punjab draft agreement1945 which
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 64
had been followed in practice long years after Punjab refused to ratify
(5) The planned system of works had a lot of development
components. These substantial additional supplies were reserved for
the Punjab canals for reclamation requirements over and above their
developed uses, leaving nothing for the other provinces including
Sindh where the salinity problem and reclamation requirements are
(6) Whereas no reclamation supplies were provided for Sindh canals.
As much as 5.5 MAF additional water, which is more than Mangla
Dam capacity, was provided only for the Punjab canals.
(7) The canal uses as conceived by the Board were much higher than
their allocations even in the case of developing projects. On the other
hand, the concept of IBAB uses, so far Sindh canals were concerned,
was even less than their historic rights i.e. allocations.
(8) The un-usable flood flows of Chenab and Jehlum were added to
the Indus flows, there by creating artificial shortage in the Tributary
zone and justifying the transfer of Trimmu, Punjab and Islam to the
Commenting on the high-handed, insatiable and limitless demands of
Punjab authorities over the common waters, Sindh’s representative before
the Fazal Akbar Indus Water Committee, Mr:A. W. Shaikh said 32 years ago
“The demand of water by the Punjab has no limit. It is not the
allocations or the existing higher uses for which the Punjab is demanding
water but they also demand that further development component should also
be added. If such demands are accepted then the level of uses of the Punjab
Canals will become almost double the previous allocations and hardly
anything will be left from the existing flow waters, storages or future
storages to pass down to Sindh as these Punjab requirements will first have
to be met.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 65
If all that water goes to the Punjab canals, the ruination of Sindh
Agriculture is certain. The signs of increase in the salinity already started
showing up in Sind due to shortage of canal water.”(”Presentation of Sindh
Case Before The Indus Water Committee” P: 10).
After unilaterally selling away 3 out of its 5 rivers, Punjab authorities
still had Chenab and Jehium, plus abundant rain water as well as ground
water, the quantum of which is under stood to be far in excess of the
combined total water of Mangla and Tarbela dams. During the Indus treaty
negotiations, Punjab authorities demanded further water works as part of
replacement supplies, through foreign aid, at the cost of all the provinces of
Pakistan including East Pakistan The World Bank, which had to arrange the
loan, at last agreed.
“The Bank has provided two storages, Mangla 4.75 MAF and Rohtas
2.1 MAE They claim that these two storages apart from complete
replacement will provide at least 2.0 MAF for reclamation and
development...” (Report on the negotiations with the World Bank, P.17, Para
Thus the authorities of Punjab, the upper riparian, managed
thoroughly to exploit their unique, although illegal position, as the sole
representatives of Pakistan, to the exclusion of the other affected provinces,
to do whatever they - liked to the detriment of their century-long co-sharers
and adversaries in the over-a-century long water-dispute. They were going to
get not only more than required replacement supplies in the shape of flow
water of Jehlum and Chenab and stored water of M dam but further very
substantial development supply in the shape of Rohtas dam.
But they were not satisfied with mere replacement. On the pretext of
having been forcibly deprived of 3 of their rivers and consequently being in
dire need of replacement supplies, they wanted to capture the mighty Indus,
stage by stage and to steal and plunder the last drop of its waters, even if it
resulted in turning the lower and weakest lower riparian virtually into a
desert. So they demanded Tarbela dam on Indus.
“Tarbela should be included in the plan even if it means excluding
Rohtas for the present Rohtas is an easy storage to build and Pakistan can
take it in hand later….(ibid Para 17 Expecting resistance from the donors for
such an extravagant demand, Ayub Khan suggested, that, even if the World
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 66
Bank and other donor countries do not agree to give aid for construction of
Tarbela on Indus at that time, Tarbela should be kept on the demand list for
construction at some later time.
“...the President told the Bank that if it does not agree with Tarbela,
the Bank should at least take note of it and recognize the necessity of
Tarbela being built at an early stage.” (Mr. Wahab, ibid, P.6 1)
It was the policy of the Pakistan side regarding the negotiations with
World Bank, India and other international donor countries, that in the
process of international negotiations, the opportunity for getting maximum
benefits for Pakistan in the form of maximum amount of foreign aid and
maximum number of replacement and development works, should not be
lost merely because no immediate internal agreement was in existence or
easily achievable, as to which works for which precise purpose should be
It was given to understand that it was immaterial what precise reasons
and particulars were given in justification for obtaining foreign aid for a
particular project, so long as these yielded maximum amount of such aid for
constructing maximum projects, for not only replacement purposes but also
for development purposes. The idea was that not only the actual losses due
to sale of 3 rivers should be covered but irrigation water should be made
available for cultivating new lands in West Pakistan.
Consequently as guaranteed by the central government, through the
Secretary of Industries, Government of Pakistan D.O letter NO Secy (md)
8735/54 dated 6th Nov 1954, addressed to all Provincial Governments,
extract given below, all plans and schemes prepared and positions taken by
the central government in connection with the negotiations with India and
other foreign powers were to be, so to say, for foreign consumption, without
prejudice and not to be binding, as between the co-sharer parties, in the
Indus Basin viz Sindh, Punjab etc:
“To facilitate the negotiations on the Indus Basin Water Dispute and
position as among various units of West Pakistan, I would like to confirm
that all material supplied to the Central Govt. by the various units and all
arguments advanced, material prepared or positions taken by the Central
Govt. in it’s negotiations with India are completely without prejudice as to
the legal rights of any of the units. It is essential in the national interest to
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 67
present a unified point of view for Pakistan as a whole. Any point of dispute
between the Units in Pakistan will be resolved in a fair and equitable manner
if necessary by the appointment of an impartial commission by the Central
This solemn legal guarantee was repeated and reiterated from time to
time by the highest authorities of the country.
“…. It would be pertinent to mention that a presentation on the
Zoning Concept was made by the Sindh Representative in the proceedings of
the Commission for Apportionment of Indus Waters during its session held
from 20th to 30th April 1980, and the Chairman of the Commission, Justice
Anwar ul-Haq was pleased to remark:
‘Whatever may have been adopted in negotiations with India, it is
quite obvious that it is not to prejudice the rights of the provinces. That
would be my understanding of the whole thing. For negotiations with India
you can take various positions.’ (Abrar Qazi “Kala Bagh Dam” P: 72-73)
“...the fact is that we were given assurance that whatever is being put
in the Plan is for external consumption and that we need not worry. This
assurance was again repeated and discussed in the West Pakistan
Government Cabinet meeting held on 13. 11. 55 of which the copy of the
Minutes has not so far been supplied to us in spite of our best efforts. The
fact remains that we were always told that Tarbela Dam is for Sindh.
(Wahab Shaikh-’Sindh Case’ P.17)
Hence the terminology and conceptual frame-work unilaterally
adopted by Punjab engineers in IBAB and elsewhere, during international
negotiations e.g. the terms zoning system, Indus Basin Settlement Plan,
Indus Basin Project etc were not legally binding for a number of reasons and
could not be imposed upon Sindh to its detriment.
Once decision was taken to get massive structures constructed through
foreign help and assistance, Pakistan had to justify the construction of huge
dams like Tarbela Dam on Indus. If any replacement burden was shown to
be put on Indus in the IBAB plan and consequently in other papers, it was
purely for justifying the construction of Tarbela Dam and not for legally and
practically binding Sindh to aquise in Indus’s actually shouldering the unjust
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 68
Mangla was to be the replacement dam for the canals affected by the
sold three rivers, not any other.
In the 1960 Indus Water Treaty it was stipulated that the construction
of the works for replacement supplies would be completed by Pakistan
expeditiously. If within a transition period of up to 31St March 1970, the
same were not completed, Pakistan would have had to obtain extension of 3
years more for the completion of the same on the payment of a specified
sum. Pakistan however completed all the works for replacement supplies
including Mangla dam 2 years before the specified time limit.
Hence it did not ask for any extension, permitted by the Treaty for any
non-completion of the replacement part of the System of Works, clearly
establishing that all replacement in the Tributary Zone could now be met
Hence Engineer Mr. Kirmani’s observations, at page 14 in I.B.P 265,
which was published on the completion of Mangla Darn by the end of 1968:
“Thus by March 1968, two years ahead of the deadline specified in
the Treaty, replacement works east of Jehium costing 1107 million dollars,
were completed enabling Pakistan to stand on its own, without the fear of
any action by India on the Eastern Rivers.” (P.113-114)
When the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Firoze Khan Noon
visited the site of the Mangla Dam when this replacement work was still in
progress, he glad that “with this replacement, Pakistan is going ahead in
securing herself more independence”, but he was sad that it was not a
development dam but merely a replacement dam i.e., a dam for making good
the loss of three rivers by feeding the affected canals including Trimu, Islam
and Panjnad. He observed “the sad part today is when one visits the site of
Mangla dam and sees this mighty engineering feat in progress, when one has
to remind him self that all the money is being spent not on the development
but merely on replacement. (Sir Feroze Khan Noon “From Memory” P.264)
Thus Mangla being a replacement dam was constructed at top priority.
It was not a development dam and irrigating new lands was basically not its
job. Its main job was to feed canals including Islam, Trimu and Panjnad
previously fed by the three illegally sold rivers. When the construction of all
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 69
the replacement works including Mangla replacement dam were completed
around 1968, the Tarbela dam was non-existent. It was not a dam meant for
top priority construction like replacement works, which had to be completed
within the stipulated transitional period as required by the Treaty, as stated
This reflected the fact that there was no hurry for another dam, other
than Mangla, as what were urgently needed were the replacement supplies
for the effected canals which were to be provided in full by flow waters of
Chenab and Jehium plus a portion only of the stored water from the Mangla
As stated earlier, Panjab authorities, through their subservient central
government, invoking national interests and sentiments of patriotism, called
upon all concerned parties including Sindh, not to be unduly, perturbed if
any argument, arrangement, plan, project or other bargaining tactic or
strategy which was formulated and presented during the negotiations with
foreign authorities, appeared to conflict with their specific positions and
interests. It was a national necessity they declared in effect, to prepare and
present for foreign consumption only, of course, apparently appropriate and
convincing details, particulars and arguments to the international donor
community, in order to provide to them necessary justification for getting
maximum possible foreign aid sanctioned for Pakistan. They planned all
kinds of projects for providing replacement supplies, specifying all kinds of
supply burdens from here and there, making them appear logical, rational,
fully justified by ground realities and what not and as absolutely
indispensable for the progress and prosperity, nay, the very existence of the
whole of Pakistan.
As evidenced by the government of Pakistan letter No:Secy (md)
8735/54 dt: 6.11.1954 referred to above, all this was supposed to be meant
for foreign consumption only, without any prejudice to and not binding any
of the affected parties including Sindh. But as soon as the negotiations were
over and the foreigners went home, the Punjab authorities and their
subservient central government mouth- pieces, staged a 180 degrees turn,
and declared that every word of all their plans, positions, pronouncements,
classifications and schemes which originally were solemnly declared to be
only for foreign consumption, were now, after the completion of the Punjab
versus the foreign countries and institutions negotiations to the total
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 70
advantage of Punjab and total disadvantage of other provinces specially that
of Sindh, to be binding on all concerned, including Sindh.
One item of their pride of “impartial national planning” performance
was the creation of two illogical and artificial water zones in Pakistan, the
Indus zone and the tributary zone separated by the Chinese wall of opposite
and contradictory functions. The functions the Indus zone was assigned were
to get not even a single drop of its share from the common waters in the
other zone but give away every thing it had to the other zone even, if
necessary, at the cost of starving the, big family of its own canals solely
dependent upon its life-giving waters for the very lives of the crores of
people of the concerned areas. On the contrary, the functions assigned to the
other, the so-called tributary zone was not only not to part with a single drop
of the so-called Indus zone’s share of common waters within it but to obtain
the bulk of waters from the other zone through leech-like robber canals
including Chashma-Jahlum and Tarbela-Panjnad link canals. So one socalled
zone was to be a solely giver zone and the other was to be solely the
taker zone. Sindh was placed in the solely giver zone and the Panjab in the
solely taker zone.
The stand of the Sindhi people is that the ex-parte proceedings of
negotiations regarding the artificially created Pak-India water dispute in
furtherance of the Jullunder conspiracy between the representatives of both
the post- Partition parts of the former undivided Punjab, the subsequent
appointment of IBAB and all its plans, schemes and final decisions
adversely affecting the fundamental legal and constitutional rights and
interests of the lower riparian Sindh, were and are ex-parte, illegal, in utter
violation of the universally recognized natural rights, without jurisdiction, of
no legal effect and void abinitio.
This totally arbitrary, malafide, self-serving, transparently fraudulent
zone system which, incidentally, is not mentioned in any of the three
international documents concerning the 1960 Industrial Treaty, imposed exparte
and maliciously by IBAB to defraud Sindh of its vital rights and
interests, is totally unacceptable, illegal, of no legal effect as against the
historic life and death interests of the people of Sindh.
It has been regretfully observed by the people of the smaller and
weaker provinces, that since, in view of the undeclared but practical unitary
instead of federal, form of government in Operation in Pakistan from the
very beginning, any ruler from provinces other than the Panjab, like Liaqat
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 71
Au Khan, Hussain Shaheed Suhrwardi, Iskandar Mirza, Ayub Khan, Yahya
Khan, Zulfiqar Au Bhutto etc, publicly paraded on the national and
international stage as iron men, dictators, great leaders, Generals and field
Martials and what not, could remain in power and some times even alive,
only while they slavishly served the anti-democratic, anti-people anti
national and hegemonic vested interests of the Punjab elites and authorities.
Ayub Khan was no exception. So far as slavishly serving the above
hegemonic vested interests was concerned, he allowed himself to be led by
the nose, there by laying down the foundation of Bangladesh debacle etc.
He abjectly abandoned all pretense of ruling as an impartial President
of all Pakistanis with fairness and equity and allowed himself to be lorded
over by the Punjab authorities, not caring a hoot for the long term interests
of justice, national unity and solidarity. He became a willing tool in the
hands of the Punjab engineers surrounding him. He allowed Punjab
authorities to pocket all the foreign aid billions obtained on the pretext of
replacement and development for all of West Pakistan. He hands over
virtually all the waters of Pakistan, to save its share of which, Sindh had
struggled during much of the twentieth century, to the dominant province.
He went to the adventurous extent of threatening a war with India if foreign
aid for constructing the Tarbela dam for siphoning off and plundering the
Indus waters in their entirety, was not furnished.
“The sharing of the waters of the Indus system had been a matter of
dispute for many years. Before Partition, there were water claims
continuously in dispute between the Sindh and Punjab provinces of
undivided India. Partition drew the border between India and Pakistan right
across the Indus system. Pakistan became the downstream riparian and the
headwork of two of the main irrigation canals in Pakistan were left on the
Indian side of the border... I knew very little about the problem, so I asked
for elucidation. The West Pakistan government sent two engineers (Both
belonging to Punjab- RBP) who explained the case in great detail to me.
“...The World Bank conceded our demand for the construction of a
system of replacement works... The World Bank team, headed by its
President, Eugene Black, offered us the Mangla Dam plus certain headwork
and the diversionary and link canals. They also offered a dam at Rohtas near
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 72
“….before I write of the negotiations with Eugene Black, I should like
to describe the confrontation I had with our own technical experts and
administrators.(A1l belonging to Punjab- RI3P) I sensed that they did not
fully realize the gravity of the situation and were asking for the moon They
were.... trying to dictate policy and were taking up extreme positions. Some
thirty or forty of them was assembled in Government House, Lahore.
“….they were firmly of the view that in addition to a dam on the river
Jehluin at Mangla, we should need a dam at Tarbela to store the surplus flow
of the Indus River The difference in cost was of the order of about 200
million dollars. This was a staggering figure, and I knew that when Eugene
heard it he would hit the roof. And so he did. But I told him, and I quote the
words as I recall using them: ‘I have been around these areas which are
going to be affected by the withdrawal of waters by India. People have told
me very plainly that if they have to die through thirst and hunger the would
prefer to die in battle and they expected me to give them that chance. Our
Jawans and the rest of the people feel the same way. So this country is on the
point of blowing up if you don’t lend a helping hand.”(Ayub Khan “Friends
not Masters” P. 108-110)
It may be noted that only the “Surplus flow” of Indus was to be stored
Needless to reiterate that under the sub-continental, international and
Indo-Pakistan law before sanctioning such a potentially controversial
gigantic project like the Tarbela, the rights and interests of all the concerned
co-sharers specially Sindh had to be taken into consideration properly in
advance just as it was done in days of the British Raj.
“One of the terms of reference of the Anderson Committee appointed
in 1935, was “the possibility of finding such supplies, without detriment to
the parties interested in the waters of the Indus and its Tributaries and the
effect upon the existing rights of these parties, of any fresh withdrawal the
authorization of which, the committee may recommend.”
“The Rau Commission, specifically recognized the damage to Sindh
Canals by the construction by the Punjab of the Dam at Bhakra on Beas and
not only provided that two new projects in Sindh be constructed to give an
assured supply of water to its Canals but that a portion of the cost of these
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 73
works amounting to 2 crores be borne by the Punjab for that purpose.
(Wahab Shaikh ‘Sindh Case’, P.15)
But for usurper generals and dictators like Ayub Khan, the country
they succeed in getting into their clutches with its resources, becomes their
personal Jagir and property, its population their slaves and their sweet will
the supreme law of that unfortunate land.
There is a lot of money for the rulers, in fact billions, in the business
of constructing national dams etc. Every body including the present rulers,
know that Ayub Khan did not become any poorer through such building
activity. They, in fact, want to gain from his experience.
“Ayub needed a guarantee against personal degradation which was
given to him by me personally. Ayub had made a lot of money and he
genuinely wanted time to enjoy it. No one knows better than me why Ayub
had quit.” (Excerpt from General Yahya’s written statement before Hamood
Rahman Inquiry Commission, quoted in “The Breaking of Pakistan” by A.
As for the Panjab authorities who during the course of Pakistan’s
chequered history of repression of the deprived sectors and weaker entities
and peoples, usurpation of state authority and its autocratic willful, and
reckless exercise, had learnt from experience that they were -the real masters
of Pakistan and owners of all its resources and sources of life and livelihood,
had no use for fair apportionment, equity and justice. After completing the
lawless misappropriation of all the waters of all the five Punjab rivers, the
Indus tributaries, they straight-away proceeded to loot and plunder the
waters of the Indus the last remaining source of the life of the lower riparian
Sindh, through the link canals ostensibly constructed for conveying only
surplus waters of Indus to Punjab canals known in Sindh as robber canals,
on all kinds of phony pretexts, thereby intensifying the desertification of
Sindh which has now reached alarming proportions.
“The perception of the people of Sindh about the modus operandi of
WAPDA and the Government of Punjab works out as under:
i. Allow the civil works or the canal system to be constructed
as projects of national survival
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 74
ii. Request for surplus water for staunching, leak testing, saving
the link from choking or whatever.
iii. Run the surplus water for a few years to establish precedent
and to develop water users who will then apply tremendous
pressure to keep the water supply running.
iv. Force the lower riparian (or don’t even ask) to accept the fait
accomplice and keep the water supply running since the tap
is always in the hands of the upper riparian. (Abrar Qazi,
‘Kala Bagh Dam’, P:80)
As soon as the “robber” canal, the Chashma-Jehlum link canal was
completed in 1973,
Punjab authorities came out with their pretext for getting it opened for
In a “summary” for the Chief Minister, Mr.A.W.Shaikh, S.K secretary
for Irrigation and power, Government of Sindh, wrote, under the subject
“Opening of Chashma link. During Kharif 1973”:
“A proposal for opening Chashma-Jehium Link for the current Kharif,
has been received under WAPDA’s NO CE/WMC-49/259 dated 18.6.1973
(Flag A) with the objects of:
i. Meeting the operating needs of the safety of banks against
ii. To save the link from choking in the lower part due to wind
blown sand and,
iii. To monitor the seepage losses from the link at various
discharges required to draw anti-water logging schemes
along the link canals.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 75
In this connection it ma.0y be pointed out that a similar request to run
the Chashma-Jehlum Link during Kharif 1972 was received last year which
was not accepted by the government of Sindh...
As regards the fresh arguments nos. (I) and (ii) the same are not valid
as the link has been constructed mostly in, cutting and whenever it is in
embankment, it has been constructed on international standards Moreover
the link has been fully tested for 134 days (from 26.5.71 to 6.10.71) and 83
days (from 5.7.72 to 25.9.72) which is by no means a short duration (P: 76)
As regards argument no. (iii) In asking for opening of the link to
monitor the seepage losses to draw anti-water logging schemes, both the
WAPDA and Punjab Government have asked the Central Government to
finance this project terming it as consequential work to the Indus Basin
Project. In case of the Taunsa-Punjnad Link, the Punjab Irrigation
department has succeeded in creating artificial water-logging on both sides
of the Link by running it at full capacity even when not a drop of water is
required for transference to Punjab Canals (presently over 130,000 cusecs
are escaping below Punjnad and yet the Taunsa-Punjnad Link running at a
discharge of 5000 cusecs). Likewise, the Punjab Irrigation Department
desires to flow the Chashma-Jehium Link, as without it’s flowing, it will be
difficult for them to justify the anti-water logging project.
It is evident that they want to open it (the C.J Link) on ad-hoc basis
now and then continue to run it by emphasi “status quo” later on. The Sindh
canals have already experienced great damage to the sustenance of their
agriculture by unilateral operation of Taunsa-Punjnad Link, both in Kharif
and Rabi, even at times of acute shortage of supplies in Indus, although this
Link was only opened for staunching and testing purposes for meeting the
contractual obligations purely as an ad-hoc arrangement.”
The Secretary Irrigation Government of Sindh was apprehensive, as
far back as 1973, that C.J link canal would, much like the T.P J canal earlier,
be requested to be opened for technical reasons which would set a precedent.
After a few years it will be kept permanently open as a matter of right.
Following is the reproduction of the Interim Accord between Sindh
and Punjab, signed on 3rd July 1973:
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 76
OPENING OF THE CHASHMA-JEHLUM LINK
DURING THE 1972
Pending a final decision by the president of Pakistan on
apportionment of waters of the Indus System which inter alia would also
ascertain the operational criteria of Indus links, a joint meeting of Sindh and
Punjab Irrigation Ministers convened by Control Minister for Provincial Coordination,
Mr. Abdul Hafees Pirzada, reached interim accord in Lahore
Governor Punjab; Central Minister for finance; Central Minister for
Information and Chief Minister Sindh were present.
In the month of July, there is more water available in the Indus system
than the requirements of its Canals. In fact there are escapades to the sea,
both from the Indus Main and the Tributary Rivers and therefore there is no
need to transfer Indus surplus water through the Chashma-Jehium Link.
Nevertheless it has been decided to allow a flow of water in the
Chashma-Jehlum Link. This meets the request of the Punjab Government
whose object is to keep the lower section of the Link alive. It has also been
agreed that this flow will be on a purely ad-hoc basis and will not create any
right for subsequent flowing.
In the event of a request made by the Chief Minister Sindh on the
erratic behavior of the River Indus, the WAPDA shall immediately close the
MINISTRY OF PROVINCIAL COORDINATION
GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN
July 3, 1973
(ABDUL HAFEEZ PIRZADA)
Minister for Provincial Co-ordination.
(GHULAM MUSTAFA KHAR)
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 77
(MUMTAZ ALT BHUTTO)
Chief Minister Sindh.
The points to note this Accord are:
i. The plea of Punjab to open the C-J Link was “to keep the
lower section of the link alive”.
ii. It was agreed that the flow of July, 72 will be on a purely adhoc
basis and will not create any right for subsequent
iii. In the event of erratic behavior of river Indus, on the request
of Chief Minister Sindh, WAPDA shall immediately close
the C-J Link.
But only three months after this solemn accord, by October 1973, the
position had drastically changed and Mr.Ghulam Mustafa Khar, then
Governor Punjab, wrote to the Governor Sindh, vide letter No.GS/B/173,
dated Oct 16, 1973:
“It has been stated that this link (Chashma-Jehium link canal) was a
pipeline to operate intermittently for transfer of surplus water under certain
conditions. I regret to point out that this is not the correct position. The link
has been constructed for continuous operation, like all other canals, to meet
the requirement of the Haveli canals and Lower Sutlej Valley Canals. It will
have to be so operated on the completion of Tarbela Dam. Of course I know
that the government of Sindh has somewhat different view on the subject. I
am confident that these differences will be soon resolved.”(P.71)
The Punjab authorities were at their old game of signing accords when
needed and tearing them off, at the earliest available opportunity, when no
Still the permission of Sindh Government kept on being sought every
year till 1985, an acute year of water shortage, when the total flow in the
Indus River System was a subnormal 118 MAF. That year General Ghulam
Jilani, Governor of Punjab and Safdar Butt, Chairman WAPDA, especially
flew out to Chashma and got the C-J link canal opened. Since then even the
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 78
façade of asking the Chief Minister of Sindh was dropped and the T-P and
C-J link canals continue to operate at maximum capacity, even in times of
sever shortage in Sindh. Throughout the history of Pakistan, the policies of
the Pakistan establishment, dominated by Punjab elites and authorities, has
all along been to impose its peculiar hegemonic demands and decisions
through autocratic means. Whenever it finds that it cannot get its way under
a “normal democratic rule”, such as it is ordained by the world powers that
be, in the neo-colonies of the third world, it resorts to draconian laws,
mutilation and destruction of state and government institutions and
structures such as dismissal of governments, dissolution of legislatures and
subversion and manipulation of political, electoral, administrative and
judicial processes, civil and military dictatorships, military actions etc.
As per the central government assurances in the fifties, mentioned
above, that the respective claims and interests of the provinces / units would
not be allowed to be adversely affected by the policies and positions adopted
by Pakistan for external consumption, during the international negotiations
about the Indo-Pak water dispute, but would be adjudicated by special
commissions appointed for the purpose, one Committee viz Akhtar Hussain
Committee (in 1968) and three Commissions viz Fazal Akbar (in 1970),
Anwarul Haque (in 1981) and Haleem (in 1983) Commissions were
appointed for the purpose but Punjab authorities refused to budge an inch
and continued to retain all the huge illegal, immoral gains they had obtained
through illegal and void abinitio decisions of the central government
including those under the cover of the undemocratic and repressive One-unit
and Martial law regimes.
In an attempt to close for all times, the door for any further proper and
just adjudication of all the injustices done to Sindh in the matter of its share
of Pakistani waters, during so many decades, they resorted to a very simple
and crude new stratagem.
In 1991, a PPP feudal Quizling, Jam Sadique Au, who was earlier
involved in political murder cases, was imposed as the Chief Minister of
Sindh through a reign of terror reminiscent of the terror resorted to for
imposing One-unit in the fifties, and made to sign a brief paper purporting to
decide the over-a-century long Sindh-Punjab water dispute which seven
Indo-Pak Committees and Commissions with their voluminous
deliberations, lengthy reports and awards had failed to resolve. It was very
simple. All the loot and plunder from Sindh’s share of Indus System-water
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 79
during the 1859- 1991 Sindh-Punjab water dispute, were simply ignored.
Seven more MAFs equal to about half the combined capacity (14.6 MAF) of
both Mangla (5.3 MAF) and Tarbela (9.3 MAF) were given to Punjab over
and above the 1945 allocations with nothing more for Sindh.
This was the much-heralded 1991 accord. After three years a forgery
in the minutes of a ministerial meeting reduced even that allocation of Sindh.
This was the notorious 1994 ministerial meeting “accord”. To sum up: The
present illegal and void abinitio position of the apportionment of Pakistani
waters of the Indus river system is built on the illegal, foundations of the
following illegal acts:
1. The decision of the central Government of Pakistan in, 1947 at the
time of the partition appointing a negotiating body solely comprising the
officials of one only of the several Pakistani riparian of the rivers of the
Indus System viz the then West Punjab, for settling the matter of the
apportioning of the Indus River System waters between India and Pakistan.
2. The 1948 illegal secret and yet to be officially disclosed, settlement
Agreement arrived at with the Indian side at Jullander by the authorities of
that one of the Pakistan riparian, behind the back of the others including the
over-a-century long aggrieved riparian Sindh.
3. The illegal, unilateral and exparte sale of the three common
Pakistani rivers Ravi, Bias and Sutlej to India and payment of signiorage
money to it, to make the deal fool-proof by West Punjab, behind the back of
Sindh, apparently in pursuance of the Jullander secret deal.
4. The undeclared boycott of the Arbitral Tribunal by both sides
apparently in pursuance of the Jullunder agreement, facilitating the stoppage
of water by the Indian side to the dependent Pakistani canals at the expiry of
the interim period.
5. The matter being manipulated by both sides as per Jullander
agreement and artificially blown up as an International crisis.
6. The Constitutional Assembly was dissolved, East Pakistan was
deprived of representative government, provincial and autonomous, status of
Sindh, N.W.F.P., Baluchistan and Bahawalpur was done away with and
Martial Law was imposed thereby creating for all practical purposes a state
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 80
of total lawlessness, ultimately dominated by the unholy alliance of foreign
powers and the elites and authorities of the dominating province and its
nominee rulers for the time being, including military and civil strong men
from provinces/regions outside Punjab.
7. Indo negotiations for settling the artificially created dispute was
illegally held behind the back of the lower riparian No.3, Sindh and others.
8. Ayub Khan illegally and immorally created a planning body named
IBAB, as the virtual sole owner and distributor of all Pakistan waters of the
Indus river system to the exclusion of other co-riparian, co-sharers and coincluding
9. The illegal malafide and immoral plan of the IBAB was prepared
and illegally and immorally approved by Ayub Khan government whereby,
by false and bogus figures the loss of water suffered by West Punjab due to
its own authorities illegal, unilateral and conspiratorial sale of the three
common Pakistani rivers to India was inflated and that by Sindh was
reduced, thus illegally and wrongfully allotting Punjab almost double the
quantum it deserved to be allotted and Sindh almost none.
10. Billions of dollars were obtained from India, World Bank and
other western countries on account of whole of Pakistan for the construction
of works for the replacement of the above mentioned self-created losses and
further development of the whole of West Pakistan but not a penny of it was
spent on any other province/region of Pakistan except Punjab and not a
single work or project of any kind was constructed or commenced in any
province / region other than Punjab though every penny of the loan was to
be paid by all the provinces / regions of Pakistan including East Pakistan and
not by Punjab alone.
11. That the Pakistan government by its letter mentioned above,
expressly made a decision to have a plan (and all that goes with such plans
viz schemes, classifications, systems, terminological and conceptual frame
work etc) for external consumption, i.e. a plan only to satisfy the foreign
donors that their aid was well-justified and they were granting/lending
feasible projects for specified purposes, without binding any Pakistani
interested parties viz riparian. But when the above purpose was served and
the required money was assured and such agreements finalized, the Punjab
authorities turned back and insisted that the “plan” of IBAB was to be
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 81
implemented as a legally binding document arising from and intrinsic to the
1960 Indus Water Treaty entered into by the Punjab authorities and the
central government behind the backs of the smaller provinces I regions. The
Pakistan government authorities acted accordingly, thus defrauding the
smaller provinces including Sindh of great quantities of water of their share.
12. Sindh was all along told by the central authorities that Tarbella
was being constructed to make-up for its water losses due to the sale of three
common rivers and for development of lands of Sindh and that the provision
in the so-called plan of IBAB that Tarbela would also feed Trimu, Panjnad
and Islam canals which were formerly supplied by the illegally sold-out
eastern rivers was merely a make-believe formality to satisfy the
requirements of the satisfaction of the donor countries, that each work
constructed with their money would satisfy specific basic needs of the
13. The world Bank had determined after proper evaluation of the
situation, that all that was needed for the Punjab Canals including Trimu, Pat
and Islam, affected by the illegal and conspiratorial sale of three common
Pakistani rivers by Punjab authorities, besides the supply to them of the flow
water of Chenab and Jehium, would be a portion of the waters of the darn
specifically built for the purpose viz Mangla on Jehlum with a capacity of
5.3 MAF which incidentally fulfilled the requirements of expeditious and
economy demanded by the 1960 Treaty in as much as it was a 100 miles
nearer to the affected canals than, say, the proposed Tarbela dam and hence
was liable to suffer a far less quaritum of system losses than the other
proposed darn viz the Tarbela which of course was not in existence at the
relevant time i.e. the time of the expiry of the period stipulated in the Treaty
for the completion of all works for providing replacement supplies to the
affected canals of Punjab.
14. Mangla dam was accordingly constructed quite some time before
the expiry of the period given in the 1960 Treaty for the expeditious and
economical completion of all works for providing replacement supplies
including Mangla dam.
15. In fact even the other dam proposed by the World Bank viz Rohtas
d was not needed for the replacement supplies proper as it was specifically
stated by the World Bank that these two dams would provide 2 MAF for
development viz for irrigating new lands in the whole of Pakistan.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 82
16. But under the pressure of Punjab authorities exerted on Ayub
Khan and his consequent threats to the World Bank at the very last moments
of the last meeting that if a bigger dam like Tarbela was not constructed with
the aid of World Bank and others, Pakistan would he compelled to resort to
war with India so as to die fighting rather then starving for lack of water, the
World Bank, an institution known to be under the influence of U.S.A and
intrinsically connected with its global interests, in view of the close
American-Pakistan ties at the time felt obliged to agree.
17.That under the circumstances involving Tarhela on Indus by
Punjab authorities in replacement supplies for the eastern canals Trimmu,
Panjnad and Islam on the pretext of their self-invented zoning system, in any
manner whatsoever was absolutely unjust, improper and malafide. This
high-handed act of virtual brigandage neither had then nor has now,
therefore, any legal sanctity or effect.
Inflating the figures of water availability in the Indus System has been
the traditional favorite pastime of the Engineers of the upper riparian of the
Indus System. They fix an imaginary figure of availability by playing
statistical games and say “this much will be taken by us. The rest will be for
the rest of you, the other riparian.” Most of the time, what remains for the
rest, after they have taken their lion’s share, turns out to be merely a fraction
of what was very generously allotted to them.
This was done by IBAB and is being followed by WAPDA, a federal
body in name and an extension of the Punjab Irrigation Department in
practice. On proper investigation it would be found that the 1991 accord, the
Kalabagh dam project and almost all projects of the Wapda are based on this
permanent, never decreasing miraculously high availability of water in the
Indus System, which some how vanishes, as soon as the Indus enters Sindh
and almost dries up ruining its agriculture. Today lower Sindh stands totally
ruined by continuous acute water-famine since many years.
General Mushraf’s military government does not feel obliged to
respect the law of the land regarding the respective rights of the riparian. All
generals were and are, of course, more wise, more power full and more
patriotic than other mortals, by definition and by virtue of their uniform.
General Mushraf seems, however, bent upon proving that he is wiser. more
powerful and more patriotic than his entire predecessor Generals. He is
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 83
constructing the Greater Thai Canal day and night for his generals and
colonels. He also wants to build the Kalabagh dam, and several other dams
and canals to prove to the people of Punjab that he can do for Punjab’s
vested interests what Punjabi leaders like Nawaz Sharif and other popular
leaders like Bhutto and Benazir did not wish to do or could not dare to do.
There are, of course, the little matters, of there being no spare water in
the Indus System for any darn building and canal constructing and there
being a raging water-famine in the province at the tail, the Sindh province.
Then there are a few other slightly in-convenient facts e.g. that there are
people in the three smaller provinces in Pakistan who do not see all those
enormous quantities of water in the Indus System which General Mushraf
has been shown by the Wapda general-on- extension, General Zulfiqar,
through the statistical mirages specially created by WAPDA for the purpose.
They are coming on the streets to protest against what they regard as a
planned genocide of crores of Pakistani citizens.
Gengiz Khan of the Gobi desert did not like cities. He ordered the
conquered cities to be vacated, plowed and turned into grasslands for his
horses and the citizens to be beheaded and buried in graves dug by them.
Hitler did not much like Russia, the Russians and Russians society as
it existed in the forties of the last century.
So he ordered a few changes, to be made in the Russian socio
economic and cultural system, if and when they were conquered by the
Germans in the Second World War. The Russians were to have no colleges
and universities, no industries and no cities. He ordered the re-making of
Russia once again into a primitive pastoral and agricultural society
producing and providing food and raw materials for Germany.
General Mushraf appears to want to change a few things about the
geography and economy of Pakistan. He wants a beautiful desert on the
Seacoast, on the southern side of Pakistan, in Sindh. In this Sindh desert, he
wants the people to return to the idyllic pastoral life of their distant fore
fathers, rear cattle and other livestock and produce healthy milk, butter and
meat for cities. In the Thal desert, he wants to build a dream-land of an oasis
for the generals, who, he hopes will soon become billionaire land lords of
the famous Prussian Junker type, and will rule Pakistan for and ever and
make it a World Power.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 84
General Mushraf is, indeed, not an ordinary general. He is a General
of Commandos. And a Commando general is a Commando general and
orders are orders. He seems to believe that since he has announced his orders
about building more dams and canals, there is nothing for the people of
Pakistan but to obey.
There is not to reason why,
There is but to do and die,
Into the valley of death;
Rode the six hundred.
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)
But the matter is not so simple. If wars are too serious matters to be
left to the discretion of Generals, fair and equitable distribution of national
water among the provinces being a thousand times more complicated and
sensitive matter than any war, even a war like Iraq war, cannot be settled by
the orders of even a Commando general. For, Iraq war’s destruction will
remain for a decade or two. Man can some how survive for some tune
without peace but never without water. Judging by the past history, the
locking up of Indus at Kalabagh will turn Sindh into a desert and destroy the
lives of crores of people in Sindh and many more in NWFP. -Sindhis and
Pashtoons will have no where to go, except to fight for their existence. This
is going to have consequences for the whole of Pakistan which could go far
beyond the longest possible rule of the present rulers and may prove to be
worse than those of the East Pakistan debacle. This cancer situation has to be
stopped from developing at all costs. Pakistan has already suffered enough
from the adventures of Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Ziaul Haques. It cannot
afford any more adventures.
Each and every sensible man and woman, throughout Pakistan must
so all they can to stop this.
The era of tyranny of rulers and forcibly imposed decisions has gone
on for too long. A new era of real democracy, genuine federalism, equality,
fair play and consensus building is long over-due.
The bulk of Sindh’s share of waters had already been illegally
plundered, especially after the establishment of Pakistan and long before the
1991 accord, as stated above.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 85
Mangla dam, built at the expense of all Pakistanis, as the replacement
dam for the illegally sold rivers, has been totally misappropriated and
transformed from a replacement to a basically development dam for
irrigating new lands of Punjab. Tarbela, the development dam declared to be
meant for “...development and feeding of Sindh canals” has been forcibly
captured by Punjab authorities who are using it as their exclusive property.
As the first charge upon it has been imposed the providing of replacement
and development supply of Punjab, no matter whether the minimum
requirements of the Sindh barrages are satisfied or not. This is internal
colonial high handedness, exploitation and terrorism in its most naked,
blatant and cruel form.
Every further drop or cusec of water, that is being taken now or will
be taken hereafter, from the Indus System, for any canal or dam, will to that
extent, reduce the flow of Indus System Water towards the province at the
tail viz Sindh and intensify its ruin and desertification.
Justice demands that the above enormous injustices to Sindh from the
first days of the establishment of Pakistan be rectified before any further
cynical loose talk about further dams and canals. The alleged wrong doers in
this respect include Prime Ministers, Presidents, generals and field marshals
and federal and provincial governments of the country. The alleged wrongdoing
involved in this matter, appears to attract both the criminal and civil
jurisdictions at the highest level. What appears to be needed for satisfying
the cardinal golden principle of administration of justice that justice should
not only be done but should also be seen to be done, is an impartial and
powerful, international judicial forum of the UN, OIC or SARC level, to
decide both the above aspects of the matter. Justice delayed is Justice
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 86
(1) Choudhry, Muhammad Ali, ‘The Emergence of Pakistan,
Research Society of Pakistan, University of Punjab, Lahore, 1989.
(2) Hayat, Sirdar Shoukat, The Nation That lost its Soul, Jung
Publisher, Lahore, 1995.
(3) Noon, Firoz Khan, ‘From Memory’, Printed in Pakistan, 1969.
(4) Ahmed, Mushtaq, ‘Government and Policies in Pakistan’, Royal
Book Company, Saddar Karachi, 1988.
(5) Zuberi, Musarrat Hussain, ‘Voyage Through History Hamdard
Foundation Press, Pakistan, 1987.
(6) Khurshid, K.H, ‘Memoirs of Jinnah’, Oxford University Press,
(7) Jalal, Ayesha, ‘The Sole Spokesman’, Sang-E-Meel Publication,
(8) Wolpert, Stanley, ‘Jinnah of Pakistan’, Oxford University Press,
(9) Akhund, lqbal, ‘Memoirs of a Bystander’, Oxford University
Press, Karachi, 1997.
(10) Collins. Larry and Lapierr, Dominique, ‘Mountbatten and
Independent India’, Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd, Delhi, 1995.
(11) Bakhsh, Ilahi, ‘With the Quide-i-Azam During his Last Days’,
Quid 1-Azam Academy, Karachi, 1978.
(12) Ahmed, Borhanuddin, ‘The Generals of Pakistan and
Bangladesh’, Academic Publishers, India, 1993.
(13) Kazi Abrar, ‘Kala Bagh Dam’, Creative Communications,
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 87
(14) Khan, Jahandad, Ltd. Gen, ‘Pakistan-Leadership Challenges’,
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 1999.
(15) Yousif, Hamid, ‘Pakistan-A Study of Political Developments-
1947- 97’, Sang-B-Med Publications, Lahore, 1999.
(16) Mc Grath, Allen, ‘The Destruction of Pakistan’s Democracy’,
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 1996.
(17) Muhammad Munir. Chief Justice (Retd), ‘From Jinnah to Zia’,
Vanguard Books Ltd, Lahore, 1980.
(18) Khan, Roedad, ‘Pakistan a Dream Gone Sour’, Oxford University
Press, Karachi, 1998.
(19) Khan, Mohammad Ayub, ‘Friends not Masters’, Oxford
University Press, Karachi, 1967.
(20) Basit. A, ‘The Breaking of Pakistan’, Intikhab-e-Jadeed Press,
(21) Gardezi, Hassan and Rashid, Jamil, ‘Pakistan the Unstable State’,
(22) Shaikh, A.W.F, Chief Engineer Irrigation, Presentation of Sindh
Case before the Indus Water Committee’, Karachi, 17th to 22nd May, 1971,
Lahore, on 27th and 3 1st May to 1St June, 1971.
(23) Soomro, G.K, ‘Indus Water Allocation’, 1980.
(24) Indus Water Committee - The Punjab Brief, January, 1971.
(25) Monthly Law Journals, Published at 35-Nabha Road, Lahore:
(i) Supreme Court Monthly Review, 1994, P.2232, ibid,
(ii) Pakistan Legal Decisions, 1990, Supreme Court of
Pakistan, P.666, ibid, Lahore.
(iii) Pakistan Legal Decisions, 1994, Lahore High Court,
P.353, ibid, Lahore.
Sindh – Punjab Water Dispute – 1859- 2003 88
(iv) Pakistan Legal Decisions, 1995, Peshawar High Court,
P.22, ibid. Lahore.
(v) Supreme Court Monthly Review, 2000, P.1969, ibid.
(vi) Pakistan Criminal Law Journal, 1969, P.1193, ibid,
(vii) Pakistan Legal Decisions, 1967, Lahore High Court, P.
1190, ibid, Lahore.
(viii) Pakistan Criminal Law Journal, 1992, P.242, ibid, Lahore.
(ix) Monthly Law Digest 2000, P.77, ibid, Lahore.
(x) Pakistan Legal Decisions, 1966, Supreme Court of
Pakistan, P.664, ibid, Lahore.
(xi) Pakistan Criminal Law Journal, 199 l P.113, ibid, Lahore.
(xii) Civil Law Cases, 1997, P.768. ibid Lahore.
(xiii) Civil Law Cases. 1997, P.1083, ibid, Lahore.
(xix) Qanune-Shahadat Prder. 1984, ibid, Lahore.
(26) (Article) Ali, Imran, The Punjab under Imperialism: 1885-1947
(review by Karamatullah K. Ghori, Daily Dawn, November, 2, 2003).
Last edited by ajtr; 27-03-10 at 02:01 AM.
Conflict management on water sharing and storage
Dr. Rajab Ali Memon*
After a protracted struggle by small provinces against the construction of mega dams on Indus river, the stage is now set for final decision making by the federal government on the most controversial of all the damned dams- the Kala Bagh dam. Technical Committee Report, expected to be released in August 2005, has already been rendered inconsequential by the recent press conferences of the Secretary Irrigation Punjab and the Chairman WAPDA; who have rejected all the claims and arguments of Sindh on sharing and storage of Indus water. The CBMs on “storage reservoirs” have been resumed with a whole lot of subjective rhetoric, which lacks any objective assessment of water availability and foolproof guarantees about judicious water sharing. This article, therefore, presents a representation of Sindh Water Case, with special reference to the critical issues of water apportionment, escapade to sea, and construction of storage dams.
Water distribution and sharing
The conflict between Sindh and Punjab over water apportionment is as old as the 1870s, when Punjab started constructing irrigation infrastructure on Indus river. After restoration of provincial status of Sindh in British India, an agreement was reached in 1945, whereby the right of Sindh over Indus water was held supreme. Distribution of water continued in accordance with the 1945 Formula till 1977 when, after construction of Tarbella dam, the federal government decided to follow ad-hoc arrangements for water apportionment between provinces. The latest Water Accord was signed by chief ministers of all four provinces of Pakistan on 16th March 1991 and ratified by the Council of Common Interests on 21st March, 1991. In May 1994, however, Punjab presented a working paper as an ex-agenda item before the Federal Minister of Water proposing a different formula for sharing shortages now known as the so called “Historical Use Formula”. The matter was subsequently referred to Federal Law Division, which duly observed that any interpretation of sharing shortages on the basis of historic use shall be a violation of the 1991 Accord as well as the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Using its physical control over head works and dams, and different tactics at different times, the Punjab province has managed to share the system shortages as per the highly controversial 1994 Formula; whereby the share of Punjab works out to be around 2 MAF more than its full allocated share according to the 1991 Water Accord. The share of NWFP and Balochistan is also not reduced during shortages of any magnitude, according to an arbitrary IRSA decision. Sindh alone bears the burnt of water shortages in the system, which are faced during 4 out of 5 years. It is interesting to note that the so called historic use formula was based on the sharing of
water for only 13 years from 1977 to 1990, as a baseline data for arriving at the 1991 Accord. During this period, as stated earlier, the water apportionment was made on ad-hoc basis every year. It has nothing to do with the historic use since 1945, because at that time, there was virtually no formal share for Balochistan’s pat feeder canal command area as it was then a part of Sindh province.
With the allocation of 2.24 MAF approved by the ECNEC for LBOD and 0.87 MAF allowed by the President of Pakistan for Karachi city, the present sanctioned annual allocation of provinces as per 1991 Accord is as follows: Punjab 55.94 MAF, Sindh 48.76 MAF, NWFP 8.78 MAF and Balochistan 3.87 MAF. Due to denial of share from Mangla dam and increased apportionment to Punjab, NWFP and Balochistan during shortage years, the average annual use of Sindh in recent years stands only at 43.67 MAF, against its allocated share of 48.76 MAF; while Punjab has managed to take its full share and it also utilizes an additional 45-50 MAF of fresh ground water mined through about 0.6 million shallow tube wells. Punjab is also blessed with a better down pour. Sindh, on the contrary, lacks any significant fresh groundwater and rainfall resources; and, hence, must get its due share of irrigation water for sustainable agriculture and rural livelihood systems.
Sindh agriculture is indispensable
Punjab Water Council and other pro-dam lobbies have often asserted that Sindh Agriculture is an inefficient producer, whereas Punjab alone can feed Pakistan if allowed a lion’s share of Indus river water This assertion is a mere fallacy because, even at present, Sindh contributes over 35 % of rice, 30 % of sugarcane, 20 % of cotton and 15 % wheat production in Pakistan. About 80% of cultivable area in Sindh can be classified as having very high, high and/or moderate potential for agricultural production; while only 20 percent of the area has low potential for general cropping. Given its due share of water to increase area cropped more than once and to cultivate additional 1.5 million hectares of fertile land, Sindh has the potential to produce 40% each of rice and sugarcane, 30 % each of cotton and wheat and an additional 30 % of fresh fruits and vegetables in Pakistan. Thus, Sindh agriculture can contribute significantly to the objectives of increasing productivity, maintaining quality and variety in exports and economic efficiency as dictated by the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. Sindh agriculture can amply cater to the needs of poorer sections of population in coarse rice and medium fiber cotton; ensure autarky in wheat, sugar, pulses, fruits and vegetables; earn valuable foreign exchange from coarse rice, fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, fisheries and livestock products; and save foreign exchange by substituting for import of crude vegetable oil, wheat, sugar, meat, lentil, spices and vegetables from India and other countries. It would be utterly foolish to rely on India for import of essential food items, while the same can be produced with comparative advantage in Sindh province.
The craze for full control over irrigation water is based on productivity gains realized by Punjab during Green Revolution era (1967-83), where-in it was estimated that 40% each of additional productivity of HYVs of rice and wheat was contributed by higher water and fertilizer doses. The reality now is that Punjab has grown out of that phase, on account of over-application of canal and tubewell water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides since 1980s. Punjab actually uses 50% more water per acre of the CCA, when compared to Sindh. This is causing it an increasing water logging and salinity problem and necessitating huge investments in drainage projects. Punjab agriculture can now compete only by producing quality products such as long fiber fine cotton, aromatic long grain rice, cut rose and processed farm commodities for exports, in addition to wheat. As against this, the marginal productivity of an additional irrigated acre is much higher in Sindh for coarse rice, sugarcane, red rose, melons, sunflower, coconut and oil palm, beetle leaf, mangoes, banana, guava, tomatoes, chillies and onion crops. Sindh, therefore, qualifies for its share granted in Water Accord 1991, even on grounds of economic efficiency.
Escapade to sea
Historical escapades below Kotri have been 80 MAF prior to the construction of upstream barrages and dams. From 1975-1995, these flows gradually reduced to the average level of 35 MAF annually. Afterwards, the belligerent denial of sanctioned water to Sindh has drastically reduced the environmental flows downstream Kotri, so much so that the actual flow was only 0.72 MAF in 2001-02 and virtually none in 2002-03. The IUCN team of experts recently worked out the annual requirements for outflow to sea for environmental sustenance to be 27 MAF (equivalent to 300,000 cusecs). The World Commission on Dams and Development recommends at least 10 percent of basin flows as environmental water for the river deltaic eco-systems. This works out to be about 15 MAF for the Indus river delta. Under present circumstances, even the allocation of 10 MAF given by the 1991 Water Accord is likely to be available only in 17 out of 72 years. The pro-dam lobbies wrongly estimate that still some 35 MAF is going to sea. They also unfortunately happen to believe that downstream escapade to sea is a mere waste; and, that it is “water for frogs and worthless forests”. Environmental and agricultural scientists know, however, that the following colossal damages have already occurred due to dwindling escapade to sea:
i) Sea water intrusion has resulted in the damage of about 1.5 million acres of fertile land in 159 dehs of 8 Tehsils of the deltaic districts - Thatta and Badin and Katcha (riverbank) area of Sindh, spread over 2 million acres, has been rendered barren, with consequent loss of productivity of food grains, cash crops, fodder, pulses and spices and traditional oilseeds.
ii) Mangrove forests, which once grew on 700,000 acres, now cover only 125,000 acres causing an eminent threat to the ports of Karachi and Bin Qasim. Having found an alternative in Gawadar, the pro-dam lobby is conspicuously indifferent to the future of these two ports.
iii) The fish production in the drying creeks and Indus river has declined, while Palla fish catch is nominal. Coastal wetlands and Ramsar sites have been degraded with consequent losses in biodiversity and environmental quality.
iv) Depletion in flow of sweet river water and rich silt (which has gone down from 400 million tons to only 100 million tons annually), has led to what is called a ‘Hyper-Saline Condition” in coastal belt that kills life in all forms; thereby adversely affecting coastal livelihoods and increasing the poverty incidence.
v) Indus river bed has shrunk and become gradually narrow and could be highly disastrous during super flood years, which occur once every decade.
3. Construction of new reservoirs
Controversy over water availability is at the heart of conflict over the construction of new dams for upstream water storage. Sindh experts estimate that every 4 out of 5 years, the yearly system flows are around 123.59 MAF. Annual average water availability from 1922-23 to 2002-03 has been 138 MAF. The WAPDA officials, however, estimate an unbelievable figure of 152 MAF as average annual flows. The following factors must, therefore, be considered seriously to estimate average annual availability of water:
(i) At present, Pakistan has no treaty with Afghanistan for apportionment of water from Kabul River which contributes an average of 20.42 MAF to the Indus main river. Potential short term uses by Afghanistan are about 8 MAF. Adjusting for these uses, the water availability from western rivers will become 130 MAF instead of 138 MAF; and, in 4 out of 5 years 116 MAF instead of 124 MAF. These uses by Afghanistan can increase in the long run, causing further reduction of water in the Indus basin.
(ii) With speedy construction of dams and barrages by India, the hypothetical contribution of 8 MAF by the three eastern rivers which were sold unilaterally by Punjab technocrats and dictatorial government of Field Marshall Ayub Khan in 1960, while Sindh was under the bondage of One Unit, cannot be simply assumed as permanently available for any realistic projection.
(iii) The expectation that the on-going National Program of Improvement of Watercourses (NPIW) would save significant quantum of water for filling in 2-3 mega dams over the long term, is nothing but a myth as is evident from past experience of several on-farm water management projects. Being a crash program, the NPIW has no in-built mechanism to ensure good quality works, proper O & M and sustainability through farmer participation.
(iv) The assumption that the provinces shall continue saving 12 MAF of allocated water annually is also a fallacy, because there is an increasing use of water in Punjab, Balochistan and NWFP (including above rim station utilization).
Sindh technocrats have, therefore, been pleading that there is simply no surplus storable water available, if all requirements and commitments are duly met. The WAPDA and other pro-dam lobbies have not been able to give reliable information on future average annual availability of water flows in the system. Under the scenario of sufficient water availability in only 1 out of 5 years, there is no way that the two mega dams (Kala Bagh and Basha) costing about USD 25 billion or more could be rated as feasible in financial terms. The proposed mega dams cannot stand the test of real economic feasibility when using sensitivity elements such as regional equity, lower riparian rights, welfare and distributive justice, food security of Pakistan, and opportunity cost of poverty, environmental degradation and quality of drinking water.
4. The mistrust factor
Controversy over construction of new dams is partially also a result of mistrust which is deep rooted in the past one and a half century of broken agreements and promises by Punjab province. Some glimpses of operation of existing reservoirs are highlighted hereunder to establish the case in point:
· Dams should be filled when the water is surplus. But Mangla dam is forcibly filled in April and May when there is shortage in Sindh and heavy requirement for Kharif crop.
· After the Indus Water Treaty 1960, allowing exclusive use of 33 MAF of eastern rivers to India instead of their historic utilization of only 8 MAF, the withdrawals of Trimmu, Islam and Panjnad barrages on Indus have been placed at the same priority with that of Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri; resulting in drastic reduction of water at the lower stream barrages.
· GTC is being constructed with a head discharge of 8,500 cusecs whereas maximum discharge allowed in Water Accord’s ten daily allocations by the CCI, in spite of valid objections by Sindh province, is 5,900 cusecs only. There is no guarantee that the GTC would not be converted into a regular irrigation canal just like its predecessors- the CJ and the TP link canals, and used for irrigation of Punjab fields even during shortage years.
· The so called Historic Use Formula of 1994, which was neither agreed by Sindh nor approved by the CCI, is belligerently being followed for Indus water apportionment since then. Ironically, it is in vogue even after its annulment by the IRSA under directives of Chief Executive Secretariat.
· Downstream Kotri escapade to sea has been continuously denied, and apportioned by Punjab in some years, despite protests by Sindh.
· No flood canals and small dams have been constructed in Sindh province, despite pre-proposals for about a dozen such projects.
Under the circumstances, the mistrust between Sindh and Punjab has grown out of proportion. Every passing day, the provoking statements of pro-dam lobbies are fanning this fire. It appears now that a unilateral announcement of constructing Kala Bagh dam will be made shortly by the prime minister - Mr. Shaukat Aziz; who, like his predecessors in power, desires to construct a mega project from the windfall dollar reserves; whereas there are several high priority areas in Pakistan such as social development, investment in vocational education and employment generation, cutting edge research and technology, use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, and Thar coalfield development which qualify for critical investment and which may have a high economic internal rate of return vis-à-vis the Kala Bagh Dam.
5. Barriers to consensus
From the review of books and materials on Sindh Water Case, one may easily conclude that there is no absolute rejection for the construction of a large carry over storage dam per se. Opposition to the two mega dams emanates from their proposed site, non-availability of water to fill the new dams in four out of five years, intended construction of irrigation canals by Punjab on new dams, low potential and high cost of power generation from proposed dams vis-à-vis exploitation of Thar coal reserves of Sindh, indifference to opportunity cost and feasible alternate uses of huge investments even in the irrigation and drainage sector, track record of violation of water apportionment agreements and accords by Punjab province and lack of legal and regulatory framework to ensure judicial apportionment and sharing of Indus waters in the long run. Government of Pakistan, the WAPDA and the pro-dam establishment of Punjab, have done nothing concrete to guarantee that water apportionment shall be done judiciously and on a sustainable basis; and, that the losses, if any, suffered by all Sindh stakeholders shall be duly compensated.
6. Required CBMs
The unusually hurried process of decision making on upstream irrigation projects, has also multiplied the doubts and unleashed active resistance in Sindh. Mangla dam with raised walls, Tarbella dam and construction of small feasible dams at different sites, can easily handle the water storage needs of Pakistan up to year 2030 A.D. Assuming that completion of a mega irrigation project such as the KBD may require about 10 years, Pakistan has a comfortable margin of 15 years or so for confidence building measures (CBMs) to arrive at a consensus on Indus water sharing and storage. With sincere efforts, skilled negotiation, credible guarantees for future water sharing, initiation of necessary irrigation and drainage projects in Sindh and appropriate compensation for deltaic affectees, such a consensus can most certainly be managed during a much shorter time period.
Alongside the CBMs, there is also a need to base all investment decision making on proper data base. The conflict over technicalities of water availability and appropriate carry over dam sites, can be managed through open exchange of information among all stakeholders. The current WAPDA policy of denial of factual information has been a major hurdle in attaining consensus on various irrigation and drainage projects. Reliable data is expected from the on-going work of technical committee and Downstream Kotri study. In addition, there is a need to complete financial and real economic feasibility studies on other proposed dam projects/ sites. Sindhi technocrats happen to support a carry over dam of 15 MAF at Skurdu. No site below the present Tarbella dam is acceptable because it would be possible for Punjab to take out irrigation canals from the stub channels that may secretly be provided by WAPDA in the design of such dams; as has been the case with Tarbella dam, from which a canal has been taken out after 25 years of its operation.
At the national level, constitutional as well as Pakistan Army guarantees on non-construction of irrigation canals from the storage dame and adherence to mutually agreed water apportionment (invoking CCI and/or thirty party mediation during violations by any party), may be required to arrive at a consensus among all four provinces. Such concrete guarantees are being currently negotiated with Baloch leaders. On the international front, it may be advisable to utilize the available time margin for striking favorable water agreements with India and Afghanistan. If need be, the 1960 Water Treaty with India could be re-negotiated through the World Bank, invoking genuine needs of Sindh agriculture and environmental escapade to sea. The big hurry of pro-dam lobbies is quite unnecessary and detrimental for provincial harmony. The irresponsible and supra-constitutional proclamations of Punjab Water Council may magnify the manageable conflict to extraordinary proportions; whereby, the issues of apportionment of Indus waters and construction of storage dams, might get referred to third party international forums in the short run. Such a situation shall be against the sovereignty of Pakistan, and all patriotic elements must try to avoid it by accommodating the genuine viewpoint of each other.
This paper gives indication how Pak- Punjab steals water from sindh and balochistan.There is no shortage of water in punjab but the table shows shortage in sindh and balochistan.Punjab in order to hide its water stealing blame it on india and its the punjabis who are making noises ie punjabi politician/media house/punjabi army and punjabi jehadi ie L-e-T about india stealing water in order to deflect the blame from itself and misguide other provinces. Kharif 2000 River Water Distribution and Management
Water Management and Distribution Committee:
Chairman: Engr. A. N. G. Abbasi
Members: Engr. Shaikh Manzoor Ahmed
Engr. Kazi Abdul Majid
Engr. Qamaruddin Sahto
Syed Syed Qamar uz Zaman Shah
KHARIF 200 - RIVER WATER DISTRIBUTION & MANAGEMENT
Pakistan depends almost entirely on the flows of the three western rivers of Indus system for its requirements of irrigated agriculture. The flow pattern of our rivers is however highly erratic. This is evident from the fact that the highest annual flows in the western rivers in the recorded history since the year 1922-23 was 186.76 MAF in the year 1959-60 as against the minimum of 97.4 MAF in the year 1974-75. The maximum Kharif water availability was 154.74 MAF during 1959-60 against the minimum of 79.4 MAF in the year 1974-75. The water according to requirements / allocations of the existing canal systems is therefore not available during the years of low flows in the rivers. In such a situation the shortages have to be shared equitably.
2. Basis for sharing of shortage of river water
2.1. The Indus Water Accord was signed by the provinces on 16 March 1991, soon after it was ratified by the Council of Common Interests (CCI). The paras 14(a) and (b) of the Water Accord lay down the basis for sharing the shortages and surpluses of river water. These paras of the Water Accord are reproduced below: -
14 (a) The system-wise allocation will be worked out separately, on ten daily basis and will be attached with this agreement as part and parcel of it.
14 (b) The record of actual average system uses for the period 1977-82, would form the guidelines for developing a future regulation pattern. These ten daily uses would be adjusted pro-rata to correspond to the indicated seasonal allocations of the different canal systems and would form the basis for sharing shortages and surpluses on all Pakistan basis.
2.2. The above provisions of the Water Accord are quite clear, specific and unambiguous. The Accord clearly and specifically lays down that the actual average system uses for the period 1977-82 would form the "GUIDE LINE FOR DEVELOPING" a future regulation pattern. These ten daily uses would be adjusted to correspond to the indicated seasonal allocations of different canal systems and would form the BASIS for sharing shortages and surpluses on all Pakistan basis. The ten daily system wise allocations were worked out accordingly in the year 1991 and were made part and parcel of the Accord after approval of the CCI. The sharing of the surpluses and shortages cannot therefore be made on any other basis than that clearly laid down in the Water Accord.
2.3. Since the signing of the Water Accord, the sharing of shortages and surpluses of river water was being made in accordance with the above mentioned clear and specific provisions of the Accord. However in recent years, these specific provisions of the Water Accord have been flagrantly violated and some other formula of "historic uses" used for water sharing to the detriment of the lower riparian provinces. There is no mention whatsoever of "historic uses" anywhere in the Accord. The provision of paras 14(a) and (b) of the Accord are the only operative cannons of the Accord, which if violated will result in the whole Accord becoming redundant and meaningless. The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has been set up under para 13 of the Accord for the implementation of the Accord. This Authority being the custodian of the Accord, has the responsibility to ensure that the Accord provisions are faithfully followed. Neither IRSA, nor any other authority is empowered to go against clear and specific provisions of the Accord.
3. Distribution of water during Kharif 2000
3.1. In Kharif 2000, the water availability in the rivers was very low. This situation required that the available water should have been managed properly and the shortages shared equitably in accordance with the Accord. However there were serious complaints from growers of lower riparian provinces i.e. Sindh and Balochistan regarding improper and inequitable management and distribution of water. In this paper, an attempt has been made to analyse the available data to assess the situation. In this respect, the details of water supplied to the provinces, by IRSA/WAPDA, on 10 daily basis compared to the Accord allocation have been collected.
3.2. A statement showing province wise Water Accord allocations and actual withdrawals during Kharif 2000 is given in Annexure I. A close study of statement reveals the following: -
(i) Against the Water Accord allocation of 74.665 MAF, the total canal withdrawals of the four provinces during Kharif 2000 were 55.705 MAF which was 25.4% less than the Accord allocation. (Allocations of the four provinces during Kharif under the Water Accord below rim stations are 77.34 MAF, but the allocations indicated by IRSA in Table at Annexure I are shown as 74.665 MAF. This is due to some variations in the figure of allocations for NWFP as shown in the IRSA statement, which is different from the Accord figures. However since there has been no complaint whatsoever from NWFP, the figures given by IRSA are not being disputed at this stage). The above figures show that a quantity of 21.635 MAF less than the Water Accord allocations (18.960 MAF less according to IRSA figures) was supplied to the provinces during the season.
(ii) Punjab got 29.497 MAF against their allocation of 37.059 MAF, which is 20.4%, less; Sindh got 23.81 MAF against their allocation of 33.936 MAF, which is 29.9% less; Balochistan got 1.6564 MAF against their allocation of 2.847 MAF, which is 41.9% less and NWFP got 0.774 MAF against their accord allocation of 0.823 MAF, which is 6.0% less. Thus the lower riparian provinces of Sindh and Balochistan have been the worst sufferers.
(iii) During the various 10 daily periods of Kharif 2000 (excluding month of April when there was general shortage and no water in storages), the extent of reduced supplies of 20% and above to the four provinces is given in the table below
Shortage Punjab Sindh Balochistan NWFP
Above 50% --- 3 1 ---
Between 50% to 40% 1 1 6 ---
Between 40% to 30% 1 2 2 ---
Between 30% to 20% --- 3 5 ---
Total 20% and above
(out of 15 10-daily periods,
May to September) 2 9 14 Nil
The above table indicates that the lower riparian provinces of Sindh and Balochistan have suffered to great extent particularly during crucial sowing and maturity periods.
4. Basic principles of regulation of reservoirs and Indus Link Canals
4.1. A reservoir is like a water bank where water is stored when it is surplus and withdrawn when it is needed. As such the basic principle for regulation of reservoirs is that water has to be stored when it is surplus to the requirements/allocations of the present canal systems during Kharif season to be utilized subsequently during periods of shortage. In no case the water is to be stored in the reservoirs when the available flows are not enough to meet the current requirements/allocations. Moreover during the Kharif season the reservoirs have to be operated for balancing, so that the fluctuations in the river flows are absorbed in the reservoirs and steady flow maintained in the rivers downstream even during shortage period.
4.2. The Indus Link Canals have to be operated for transfer of Indus Water to the tributaries when the water available in Indus is more than the allocations of the canals on that system and the water in the tributary rivers is less than the allocations of the canals on that system.
5. Actual operation of reservoirs during Kharif 2000
5.1. From the operational data of Kharif 2000, the following points regarding operation of reservoirs and Link Canals have been noticed: -
(i) Inspite of very low water availability in the rivers, water was stored in Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs in a free style without any regard to the current allocations/requirements, particularly of lower riparian provinces. At the end of the season, Tarbela reservoir was full to capacity and Mangla was also almost full. A total of about 13-14 MAF of water was stored, though the Canals Systems received nearly 21 MAF less during the season.
(ii) The storage in Mangla reservoir was started on 14th April 2000 when there was acute shortage of water in the rivers and there was growing demand in Sindh where sowing season starts early. The storage in Mangla continued unabated throughout Kharif season, inspite of severe shortage of water in lower provinces.
(iii) Similarly the water was stored in Tarbela in shortage period during July II and III, August III and September when there was peak demand and acute shortage of water in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.
5.3. A statement showing the water stored in Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs when the water availability in river was much less than required to meet with the allocations is enclosed as Annexure II. This statement reveals that 2.701 MAF of water was stored in Mangla reservoir and 3.410 MAF was stored in Tarbela reservoir i.e. total of 6.111 MAF was stored during the extreme shortage periods. The effects of shortage of water could have been mitigated to a great extent if the storage was not done in such an arbitrary manner. The lower riparian provinces bore the brunt of this gross misregulation.
6. Release of water from reservoirs during September 2000 and its utilization
6.1. A quantity of 1.186 MAF water was released from Tarbela reservoir during September II and further quantity of 1.266 MAF was released during September III. Thus a total quantity of 2.452 MAF was released from Tarbela during September 2000. In addition a quantity of 0.474 MAF was also released from Mangla during September 2000. This water was released notwithstanding the fact that during the shortage period in April to July when there was acute shortage of water in lower provinces, no water was released from the reservoirs and on the contrary it was being stored particularly in Mangla Dam.
6.2. During the same period September II and III a quantity of 1.044 MAF of water was diverted from the River Indus through C.J. link and T.P. link canals. Thus large portion of water released from Tarbela during September II and III was diverted through the Indus Link Canals though the lower provinces of Sindh and Balochistan faced acute shortage of water during this crucial maturity period of crops. Moreover 0.474 MAF of water released from Mangla during September was also totally utilized in the upper regions. A statement showing the water released from Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs during Kharif 2000 and diverted through Indus Link Canals is givn in Annexure III.
7. Operation of Indus Link Canals during Kharif 2000
7.1. As explained above, the Indus Link Canals are to be opened if and when the water available in Indus is more than the allocations of the canals settled on the system and the water available in the tributaries is less than the allocations of canals settled on that system. However the Indus Link Canals (C.J. link and T.P. link) were opened on 28/29 April 2000 at a time when there was acute shortage of water in Sindh during crucial sowing period of cotton. Strangely enough, at the same time when links were opened, water was being stored in Mangla reservoir, from which it is evident that there was no shortage of water in the tributary system to justify the opening of Link Canals.
7.2. Moreover the link canals were opened by reducing the water downstream Chashma and Taunsa Barrages instead of waiting for the river to rise so that the opening of the Link Canals would not have affected the downstream water users in the lower riparian areas in Sindh and Balochistan. Due to opening of the link canals in the end of April, heavy negative fluctuations were passed downstream which resulted in huge reduction of discharge at Gudu Barrage in early May even below the previous level which was already much less than required according to the allocations.
7.3. The Indus Link Canals (C.J. and T.P. Link) continued to operate almost throughout the season inspite of acute shortage of water in the lower riparian provinces. A statement showing the diversion of water from Indus through the Link Canals is enclosed as Annexure IV. This shows that huge quantity 6.173 MAF of water was diverted through the Link Canals.
8. Heavy fluctuations caused due to misregulation of river water in reservoirs
8.1. As stated above the purpose of a reservoir is to store surplus water of Kharif for use during subsequent shortage periods. Also the reservoir is used for balancing of the available river water during Kharif season itself so that fluctuations in river flows are absorbed in the reservoir and steady flow maintained downstream. However during Kharif 2000 heavy fluctuations were passed downstream Chashma/Taunsa Barrages which resulted in irregular and erratic supplies at Gudu Barrage and caused further damage to the crops in Sindh and Balochistan. It also created problems in regulation and management of the rotation programs. Some details of the fluctuations during different 10 daily periods of Kharif 2000 are given in Annexure IV.
9. Adverse effects of mismanagement of water distribution and misregulation of reservoirs and Indus Link Canals
(1) The sowing of Kharif crops in Sindh and Balochistan particularly cotton and rice was delayed by more than one month.
(2) The area under Kharif crops was reduced.
(3) Due to late sowing and insufficient water after sowing and during maturity period the yield of the crops was reduced.
(4) Heavy fluctuations even during shortage period caused further difficulties in regulating the water and enforcing rotation programme.
(i) The river water has been grossly mismanaged and misregulated during Kharif 2000.
(ii) Sindh and Balochistan have been deprived of due share of water under the Water Accord during Kharif 2000.
(iii) Water was stored in Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs to the extent of 13-14 MAF though the Canal Systems received 21 MAF less than their allocations during the season. Out of this quantity, 6.111 MAF of water was stored during the periods when there was acute shortage of water in Sindh and Balochistan. Water was also diverted through Indus Link Canals (C.J. and T.P. Links) at times when there was severe shortage of water in Sindh and Balochistan and they were not receiving their due share of water according to their allocations. The Link Canals were opened in April 2000 by reducing the already short water quantity, which was being supplied to lower riparian provinces at that time.
(iv) Heavy fluctuations were passed downstream Chashma/Taunsa barrages, which created further problems for Sindh and Balochistan.
(v) IRSA/WAPDA are responsible for this mal-distribution and mismanagement of river water. The Federal Government also did not exercise adequate control over these organizations to ensure proper management and equitable distribution of river water.
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread.
(0 members and 1 guests) Similar Threads
By A.V. in forum Politics & Society
Last Post: 31-01-12, 11:31 AM
By Singh in forum Foreign Relations
Last Post: 30-01-12, 03:05 AM
By Singh in forum Foreign Relations
Last Post: 10-12-11, 03:16 PM
By LETHALFORCE in forum West Asia & Africa
Last Post: 24-07-10, 08:01 AM