‘Water scarcity a human issue’
Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Javed Ali Shah has questioned the handing over of 100 percent water of three rivers under the Indus Water Treaty, adding that water scarcity is a human issue in South Punjab. “Handing over Sutlej, Bias and Ravi rivers to India was a cruel act on the part of past rulers and time has come to raise voice against this injustice internationally,” he asserted.
“It is pathetic that the environmental issue was attracting support worth billions of dollars but not a single penny is being allocated for water issue world over,” he added. He was speaking at a special sitting organised by the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors at a hotel. Javed said 80 percent water of Sutlej, Bias and Ravi was used by the people of Pakistan but we handed them over to India under the Indus Water Treaty. “There is no such illogical water treaty anywhere in the world,” he deplored.
He said not only the human life but wildlife is also under threat in the water stricken areas. He said the government has allocated Rs 36 billion this year for improvement in situation, which is a right step in the right direction. He said presence of arsenic was becoming common to the extent that even the cart puller prefers today to buy filtered water for his family. “Once Bhutto was criticised for drinking mineral water,” he recalled.
He said hepatitis was spreading fast in South Punjab and Chief Minister Punjab has recently established a model hepatitis clinic in Shuja Abad. He emphasized that no one can stop Pakistan from demanding its water internationally. “It is unfortunate that we are throwing water to the sea three times more than the world standard. The historic sites at Thatta are under threat due to the erosion of sea water and the people of South Punjab are crying for availability of water,” he added.