Shortage of Water in Pakistan and Indian breach of Indus water treaty.

At Marala, on river Chenab (in Pakistan) the water flow was found to be 40% less than previous years in the second week of January 2010. The average flow at this point in last ten years has been 11,000 cusecs. The commissioner Indus water treaty in Pakistan, Mr. Syed Jamaat Ali  disclosed the facts recently. He exposed that the main reason for this decrease in the flow is due to the illegal and inhuman resource building by India on this river. According to a report during the years 2008-9 the river flow at Marala, Chenab has been less than 50% of the previous average.
It’s a matter of life and death for Pakistan that in all its rivers which come from India and Indian held Kashmir, the water flow is decreasing persistently. The fertile lands in the catchment areas of these rivers in Pakistan are being rendered barren gradually and at an alarming pace. Deforestation is at its full swing and dangerous environmental hazards are being produced. Along with the rivers Chenab, Indus, Jhelum, Ravi, Bias and Sutlej the lands are an example of barren landscape and ruins of human dwellings. The centuries old civilization which thrived along the banks of these once mighty rivers are now rapidly vanishing and social, cultural and economic impact of the Indian’s schemes of depriving Pakistan of its legal waters is monumental

India is not only building dams and power projects on these rivers but is also busy in diverting their flow. Last year only there was a shortage of 55,000 cusecs of water in Pakistan which is alarming and is becoming a cause of tension between the two countries. Its becoming vital for Pakistan to plead its case in the International court of justice because if remedial measures are not taken by India vast lands in Pakistan will convert into deserts and famine will result in Pakistan with massive loss of life and property.
The Indus water treaty of 1960 solved the water problem for India and Pakistan in a judicious manner. Both the countries were the signatories of the treaty but now very unfortunately India has taken an absolutely immoral stance and is stubbornly and deliberately depriving Pakistan of its legal waters. In a blatant violation of the treaty India is building more than sixty projects on the rivers whose water was legally owned by Pakistan. 147 kilometer up north the head Marala on river Chenab in the Indian held Kashmir, in district Doda, India is building the notorious Buglehar Dam and hydroelectric power plant. Its immediate result is that in Pakistan there has been such shortage in the flow of Chenab that they have to close the Marala-Ravi link canal which was a vital source of irrigation. In the command area of head Marala there simply is not enough water. As a result three million acres of fertile land has become barren. Pakistan couldn’t even had the Mangla dam filled at its full capacity due to this shortage. It has presented this issue on various international forums but nothing has been done in the right direction. Pakistan maintains that the design and structure of Baglehar dam is in total violation of the Indus water treaty. The World Bank was also contacted in this connection which appointed a consultant who concluded that the objections on Pakistan’s part are all valid and genuine. With this dam alone Pakistan is being deprived of 0.3 million and twenty one thousand acre feet of water annually. According to IWT (Indus water treaty) India cannot build dams to store waters on rivers Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. It can only have ‘run of river hydro electric power projects’. But in Buglehar dam alone the capacity to store water is in the tune of 0.32 million acre feet of water. By building these dams India has also reinforced its infrastructure in the Indian held Kashmir and is trying to mix the political issues with water problems. It seems that India is ready to convert the Pakistani rivers into Hakra and Sarsvati the once mighty rivers now converted into barren landscape by building dams over them.
In the last ten years India has built more than a dozen hydroelectric projects and dams on river Chenab with the resultant electricity production of 8696 megawatts. Mr. Zahur ul Hasan Dar of IWT council claims that by the year 2013 Pakistan faces the danger of being declared as calamity struck area. In October 2008 president Zardari took this issue with the prime minister of India and told him of the seriousness of the water crisis for Pakistan. But Indian government has turned a deaf ear to all these pleadings. A common opinion is that India as the eternal enemy of Pakistan, despite its claims of democracy and rule of law is deliberately trying to make Pakistan suffer due to loss of irrigation waters and power projects on its legal waters.

River Indus
River Indus

Published by Dr. Afaq Ahmad Qureshi

Physician, writer, broadcaster, journalist, translator, free lance writer, poet, political and social analyst and critic. Writes plays and features for electronic media, interested in numerous things from sociology to medicine to history and art. interest in books and internet, writes for also; editor for an internet journal; at

6 thoughts on “Shortage of Water in Pakistan and Indian breach of Indus water treaty.

  1. i am a student of Provincial Management service. I need these kind of aricals. please sent . thanks .
    Mussarat Zoberi


  2. I had not known the extent of Pakistan’s water troubles until I read this article. I am so thankful that you have brought this problem to light and spoken out for the people with compassion and insight as to the troubles to come. I hope that a compromise can be reached between India and Pakistan, for this is indeed an immediate and very urgent issue.


    1. Its a very serious threat to Pakistan’s economy and existence. The power echelons are busy in non – issues and the media has just one job in its hands – to persecute the PPP government. They are oblivious to this threat and how a famine struck Pakistan will give rise to more poverty and hence more terrorists and criminals. This is something the whole International community and environmentalists should come forward and help Pakistan by persuading India to abide by the Indus Water treaty and stop blocking the rivers of Pakistan.


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My Notes: Dr. Afaq Ahmad Qureshi

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