Islamabad, May 27, 2021: Submitting a Calling Attention notice on the water crisis in Sindh, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “It is alarming that Tabahi Sarkar has reopened the Taunsa-Panjnad link canal despite a vote-based (3-1) decision against its opening in IRSA meeting. Sindh is already facing water shortages of around 20%. Depriving Sindh of its water share is unconstitutional and against all protocols. According to reports, Pakistan’s water storage capacity is now only enough for 33 days as water inflows from northern areas have dropped by a massive 22%. UNDP states that Pakistan will dry up by 2025 if no urgent action is taken today. In this period of extreme water scarcity in downstream provinces the Federal government has failed to ensure fair distribution of water and has deprived three provinces of their due share”.
“Depriving Sindh of its water share, especially in the crop season, will have a devastating impact on Pakistan’s economy. Not only is the economy at stake but also the lives and livelihoods of countless farmers. Today, the burden of water shortage is being born by Sindh alone. This water shortage means that our farmers have not been able to sow kharif crops. Along with rice crops being affected, our textile industry is also suffering. No wonder our exports are declining on an alarming rate,” she added.
Rehman said, “In a recent meeting IRSA’s chairman insulted a Sindh member only because he asked why the TP canal was opened despite a majority decision against its opening. IRSA should also refrain from misusing its authority and stop depriving Sindh of its due share. Using illegal NOCs to construct power plants on the Panjnad and Chasng, Chashma-Jhelum link canals, and opening up the Chashma-Jehlum (CJ) and Taunsa-Punjnad (TP) link canals by IRSA has resulted into 43% shortages at the Kotri Barrage. Tabahi Sarkar’s lack of concern is shocking”.
“The Water Apportionment Accord (1991) is an agreement on the sharing of water of the Indus Basin between the provinces of Pakistan. It is one of the most important water legislations in Pakistan and not distributing water according to it is extremely unfair. Sindh is getting 59,000 cusecs or so against its allocation of 77,400 cusecs at Guddu. Not only is this against the Water Accord of 1991 but also violates our Constitution. Sindh is asking for its fair share of water which is in the country’s larger interest. The 1991 Accord promised a separate share of water for Karachi, yet it is being robbed of it. All provinces should get water under the agreed formula and Na Ehl Sarkar should be held accountable for denying Sindh its due right,” she added.
Rehman said, “Violating both the Accord and IRSA Act, an archaic illegal three tier system is used to distribute water which deprives Sindh of at least 7 MAF of its share. We reject this as it is unconstitutional and anti-federation. Any formula other than the WAA-1991 is beyond the jurisdiction of the IRSA, and unconstitutional. It was decided by majority that TP link canal will not be opened until water shortage persists. Yet in blatant violation it has been opened, which is illegal and a further blatant violation of WAA 1991”.
“All three provinces have objected to reopening the TP canal but instead, the PTI government is hell bent on cutting our water supply. They have even failed to call Council of Common Interests (CCI) meetings to discuss our looming water crisis, or hear grievances of provinces where water supplies have been cut by IRSA. Proper water management policies should be at the top of government’s priority list. We demand immediate release of share at Guddu according to Water Accord 1991. Violation of Water Accord 1991 will threaten the internal security of the nation and will harm the federation. Without national unity, Pakistan cannot mitigate our intensifying water woes. PPP rejects reopening the TP canal,” concluded Vice President PPPP Senator Sherry Rehman.