Kashmir is the source from where the bulk of Pakistan’s waters originate. India annexed Kashmir after the Sikh ruler opted for the Indian Union. The myth of “Democratic India” can be annihilated on this one terrible development alone. Pakistan’s half-hearted military campaign was easily sabotaged through its British commanders. Pakistan was after-all a protectorate of the Empire for the first 10 years. The promise of plebiscite was never sincere; always a bluff. The 13,300 square kilometers of AJK (Free Kashmir) was liberated by the tribal militias sent by the NWFP provincial government. Understanding that Kashmir is the source from where the bulk of Pakistan’s waters originate, it is a terrifying fact that India managed to annex Kashmir. Therefore, in one annexation, India took control of our “lifeblood,” our water- heads. It is not difficult to understand why it did this. History has continuously proven that civilizations and nations can thrive only if their “sweet water” resource is plentiful. In essence, our prosperity, our economy, our very existence lay firmly in the hands of our rival state. Furthermore the Indians knew that Pakistan’s major asset is the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) and its citizens have a long tradition of agriculture. Water was the weapon by which Mother India would take its revenge from those who “violated her” in 1947. Let us not forget that the name INDIA is derived from the INDUS valley civilization.
India used the “water weapon” (its water advantage) in 1948 against all norms of civilized behavior and international laws governing sharing of waters by neighboring states. The first nation that sensed the gravity of the situation was the USA and they acted quickly. Several initiatives were taken directly by PAK officials to convince the Indians not to put into practice their threat “to starve Sindh & Punjab….. (and)….. would have to beg for every drop of water” . As Mr. Bashir A. Malik writes in his book (Indus Waters Treaty in Retrospect) the East Punjab government had made it clear that: “(It) would not restore the flow of water to the canals unless West Punjab acknowledged that it had no right to the water”.
A hard-headed American public official, David Lilienthal was one of the three directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), that undertook the mega project of providing irrigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, which was an area especially hard hit by the Great Depression. President FD Roosevelt when faced with the aftermath of the 1929 market collapse had to highlight & exploit USA’s unutilized potential under the “New Deal”. He correctly decided that seven contiguous States had the water resources and the land. The TVA was launched and an institute was created in Mississippi where the best available talent amongst military and civil engineers was brought together. A series of 26 dams and associated irrigation channels as well as flood control structures in addition to malaria control & fertilizer production were included in the program. The project stimulated the entire US economy and TVA remains a priceless jewel of the US economy. The TVA was built on one guiding principle: affordable power for everyone in the Tennessee valley. After its glaring success, Lilienthal was hailed as the “father of public power,” and under his leadership, the TVA became the ultimate model in efforts to modernize Third World agricultural societies. TVA was the model for WAPDA’s creation in 1958 during President Eisenhower’s Administration but today WAPDA is not being allowed to fulfill its potential. Let us recall these two passages in David Lilienthal’s report delivered to PM Liaqat Ali Khan by Mr. Eugene Black, President IBRD/World Bank with his letter of 06 Sep 1951.
“Why the flow of the Punjab’s lifeblood was so carelessly handled in the partition no one seems to know. Pakistan includes some of the most productive food-growing lands in the world in western Punjab (the Kipling country) and the Sind. But without water for irrigation this would be desert. 20,000,000 acres would dry up in a week, tens of millions would starve. No army, with bombs and shellfire, could devastate a land as thoroughly as Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India’s permanently shutting off the sources of water that keep the fields and the people of Pakistan alive”………..
The report also stated,
“The partition gave the major part of the irrigated lands of the Punjab and Sind to Pakistan; but the headwaters of some of the largest irrigation canals that feed Pakistan were left with India or Kashmir. All the rivers upon which Pakistan depends for life originate in India or Kashmir. Two thirds of the entire water supply originates in Kashmir where the snow-fed Indus rises”.
Before using technical measures to explain water quantity & flow I will clarify the very basic units. One acre-foot of water (1AF) is simply an acre of land flooded to a depth of a foot. In the metric system 1AF is a little more than 1000 cubic meters (1000m3) of water. Therefore one million acre-feet of water (1MAF) is larger than a cubic kilometer of water. A tub of water 1km in height, width & length cannot hold 1MAF of water. For flow we use the cusec (1 cft per second). Since 1 cubic metre is about 35.31 cft a flow in cusecs can be divided by 35.31 to obtain cumecs in the metric system. In the British FPS system one measure is very useful ie: a flow of 1381 cusecs for a whole year will deliver 1MAF of water.
Therefore with annexation of Jammu & Kashmir she created the basis for the gradual control of three western rivers flowing through it. Her barbaric interruption of the three eastern rivers immediately after partition was cold blooded and one wonders at the mindset of the Indian leadership as India’s brutal & inhuman squeeze increased immediately after the passing away of the father of the nation in 1948. While the Pakistan Leadership repeatedly failed to appreciate & predict the Indian strategy of damaging Pakistan’s incipient economy using this mortal water weapon, the fifth columnists internally became active in every sphere of economic activity. The anti-dam lobby became increasingly vocal beginning from the Anti-Pakistan lobby of Walibagh, NWFP. The nonsensical propaganda that stated dams can create floods is incorrect on every technical and realistic front. Dams do not create floods; they control floods. The 1929 Nowshera valley flood cannot be repeated precisely because we now have Tarbela. More dams by definition mean more regulation. It is important to note that Pakistan wastes at least +30MAF of water to the sea after allowing a reasonable quantity of 10MAF annual flow into the sea to meet the environmental requirements (survival of mangroves, coastal fish life and to ensure zero sea-water intrusion). Additionally, why should capillary action of 40 ft be imagined against all laws of physics? The lowest point of NWFP at 955 ft is 40 ft higher than design of Kalabagh Dam (KBD) max crest level. Secondly, the rise of the Sindh anti-dam lobby became visible after the birth of Bangladesh. Its roots lie in Walibagh and it uses exactly the same strategies previously started. This is truly ironic since Sindh needs fresh surface water more desperately than the Punjab since the former has negligible sweet water aquifers. The concerns of the Sindh activists should have been satisfied for KBD as ISO-14000 Environmental Studies by IBRD were found absolutely satisfactory in 1987 but their minds are closed. Who benefits?
We have to be more perceptive and understand that reduction of water resource has become the real cause behind all our major internal frictions. It has created great distrust between the provinces over irrigation waters and pitted brother against brother. Due to this, Pakistan never built the critical reservoirs after Tarbela (1974) on its three main western rivers. These proposed reservoirs were a critical element of the extended replacement works that would have kept the eastern rivers taken by India under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT 1960) namely Ravi, Sutlej & Bias only superficially alive through the “Link Canals” we inherited as part of the IBIS (Indus Basin Irrigation System). The IWT 1960 was signed at Karachi on 19 Sep 1960 by PM Jawahar Lal Nehru & President Ayub Khan. WB was facilitator & guarantor. Rivers sustain whole civilizations, not just communities. The weakness of perception in understanding this one fact has created a right mess of things in the nation on every economic front from the energy crisis to provincial disharmony. Do we analyze the loss?
Alarming reduction in Indus Basin waters continued during 2008 and this in tandem with the criminal interruption of Chenab Main during the flood season of August & September ‘08 as Indians were filling the Baghliar I storage on Chenab river in Kashmir. At the rate with which water flows into Pakistan are decreasing, I estimate that the Indians have increased the diversion of Kashmir waters by over 3MAF annually during the last several years. Flow data indicates that Indians would soon exceed 50MAF diversion after accounting for additional flows caused by global warming/glacier retreat. The Indian organization “International Commission for Irrigation & Drainage” established in 1950 has developed an “India First” agenda and positioned itself in a position of great influence with multilateral institutions & government agencies worldwide. ICID is a dangerous weapon. Jinnah’s advise about Kashmir being the main life sustaining artery of Pakistan must now be appreciated by his nation or face extinction. The Indians clearly understood Kashmir’s strategic value; “the end justified the means”.
It is crucial to understand that electric power generation from imported oil is too expensive and far too unreliable for viable industrial growth and is simply not sustainable! Tube- well pumping of aquifers also is not fully viable for agricultural growth. Mined water lacks the rich minerals of flowing river waters but is extensively used when there is no alternate resource. Therefore, nearly 40 MAF water is pumped annually in both the Punjab and NWFP. This is not only expensive water; we are also depleting this ancient resource.
David Lilienthal’s report is an exceptionally unbiased & professional commentary on the inequitable distribution of hydro assets in 1947 by the Imperial rulers. The potential for Indian aggression makes it an eternal message for the Pakistani nation. The report did not recommend the surrender of three Eastern rivers to India, yet tragic blunders were committed by Pakistan in the negotiation of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960. Does India now consider this treaty relevant? Through ICID & otherwise the Indians now oppose every effort to secure multi-lateral financing for large dams. It has the audacity to declare the northern areas of Pakistan as part of greater Kashmir to ensure that IBRD/WB may not fund infrastructure projects under its Kashmir policy. I estimate that the Indian factor; its interference in our Indus Basin flows (directly & indirectly) has already inflicted a loss of over USD one trillion on Pakistan’s nascent economy. This loss will now grow exponentially because the loss has snowballed into an energy crisis resulting in a catastrophe for our industrial & commercial economy. Each MAF Pakistan does not utilize is around USD 2 bn loss to the economy directly & indirectly. An annual loss of USD 60 bn is estimated since 2004. The Hydel to thermal ratio has become 30:70, which is completely lopsided seeing as the ratio of 70:30 was declared as the national electric energy goal! Ideally a zero thermal energy policy should be pursued but Indus basin flows are having extreme variations; some years more than 33 times from minimum to maximum. Therefore an unavoidable element of 30% thermal energy was determined after great reflection & analysis. The following is a detailed summary of all thus far mentioned:
a). India created a major water crisis in Punjab during 1948 bringing Pakistan under great economic distress. The US Administration reacted. President Truman ordered an irrigation expert to review the situation. Mr. David E. Lilienthal was deputed in early 1951. Within six months after touring India & Pakistan he published his report. Between 1951 and 1958 the US Administrations took a keen interest in water issues. The Eisenhower administration helped create WAPDA based on its most successful TVA model. Indus Waters Commissioner Mr. G. Mueenudin played a mysterious role in the final Indus Waters Treaty negotiations. He convinced the PAK Government to accept the last minute amendment in the IWT draft allowing India to utilize additional water for agriculture in Kashmir. Water quantity was not determined. Above all Pakistan agreed to the exclusive use by India of the three Eastern Rivers (Ravi, Beas & Sutlej) giving away some 35 MAF flow; about 20% of its surface waters to India. Mangla Dam on Jhelum was quickly completed. World Bank was committed to finance one major dam on the Indus. Tarbela Dam was selected by Pakistan as the major replacement infrastructure for the three Eastern rivers granted to India. The objective being to keep the Link-Canals fed so that the Ravi & Sutlej rivers could be kept alive inside Pakistan territory. A major link canal (Chashma-Jhelum) was included in the replacement works. All this revolved around new reservoirs but their construction was sabotaged. Who benefited?
b) Let it be understood that Pakistan has not built any reservoir since 1974, which was the year Tarbela Dam was commissioned. It is perhaps the only developing country in the world which has been shy of building a dam. This is in spite of the fact that it is a pre-dominantly agricultural country with its irrigation system being its greatest asset. The March 1991 Water Apportionment Accord between the four provinces acknowledges that 22 MAF is available for storage without damage to the ecology. This means three Kalabagh size reservoirs are possible and this availability figure increases as existing storage capacity reduces due to sedimentation. It also stipulates that from any new reservoir the share of the Punjab would be 37%. The share of Sindh inspite of one-third population (compared to Punjab) is also 37%. The share of NWFP stands at 14% and the share of Baluchistan would be 12%. Some Indus River System Authority (IRSA) members are giving confusing interpretations. This Water Accord is a most realistic document but the two lobbies in NWFP & Sind block its implementation.
c). In 1974 Pakistan had achieved a cumulative storage of nearly 17MAF based on its three main dams and the Chashma barrage, which also stores about 1MAF. Today it is below 12MAF and falling whereas the population has increased by nearly 100% since 1974. The 2010 scenario points to a depleted storage of 11MAF for a population that would then be around 180 million. In the spirit of the Water Apportionment Accord 1991 at least one major reservoir was required on the Indus as a replacement reservoir, so that the depleted capacity can recover to the 1974 level (but alas for twice the population). KBD site was declared the best by WB in 1983 & met ISO-14000 requirements in 1987. What logic can possibly be used by the anti-dam lobby against the creation of a replacement reservoir unless it wants to mortally damage the functioning of the IBIS which has already been water short since the last 15 years?
d) Over 21 million acres of potential cropland stays virgin & fallow. Triple cropping is impossible now on the 42 ma of irrigated land. Expensive electric pumping or diesel engine pumping is not a perfect answer. Indus Waters Treaty 1960 is now in jeopardy as India, the upper riparian threatens to amend it under international law. Although World Bank is a guarantor of this agreement, we should have serious apprehensions. Indians refer to the rights of the upper riparian when the lower riparian does not use the water for thirty years. The IWT is sacrosanct. The Indians cannot be permitted to amend it.
e). Electric Power generation from imported oil is too expensive for industrial growth and sustainability. Electric tube-well pumping of aquifers is not the best solution for agricultural growth at today’s cost of power. Diesel driven pumping is a greater burden. Mined water lacks the rich minerals of flowing river waters. It may be appreciated that nearly 40 MAF water is pumped annually in Punjab & NWFP. This is not only expensive water but we are also depleting this resource. I estimate that the Indian factor, its interference in our Indus Basin flows (directly & indirectly) has already inflicted a loss of over USD one trillion plus on Pakistan’s nascent economy and is snow balling.
f) Having become frustrated in our attempts to develop more hydropower we became suicidal and starting in 1988 accelerating by 1992 and consummating by 1994 produced an IPP policy that was shortsighted, hazardous, unrealistic and therefore unsustainable. Several Indian executives within the IBRD/WB responsible for Pakistan fully supported Mr. Shahid Hassan Khan when he mooted the idea as Energy Adviser to Islamabad. The hibernating HUBCO Agreement of Aug 1992 was made functional by unfair concessions through amendments around 1994. HUBCO was the “experiment” the genesis of which were laid in 1985 on the advice of IMF. It was finally negotiated with a British Group (National Power) who brought in several partners including the Saudi Sheikh Ali Reza of Xenel. To accommodate this 1292MW conventional HFO (furnace oil) fired steam power station, WAPDA scrapped plans for the 1000MW imported coal project to be financed by Canada and froze the extension of Jamshoro thermal P.S. for which the Japanese Govt had offered to accept payment in Pak Rupees. Mr. Jam Yousaf Federal Minister of Water & Power had gifted a 7 km stretch of beach near Karachi city; a tax free island in Baluchistan, all for just a 1292 MW power station! The World Bank had estimated USD 0.8mn/MW but later allowed USD 1.2mn/MW. This was the period when Bangladesh was purchasing steam power stations with gas fired boilers at USD 350,000/MW. Today 15 of the 19 originally sanctioned IPPs under the 94 Private Power Policy have been established. This means about 60% of the total thermal installed capacity and more than 40% of Pakistan’s generating capacity is in private hands. This private thermal IPP policy was based primarily on imported energy; not to run an industrial estate or a vital defense establishment with imported oil but to light the streets & hamlets of impoverished Pakistan. The popular fuel of choice being RFO/HFO (furnace oil) pegged at its 1994 rate of around Rs 2,650/ton. In 2008 it had touched Rs 65,000 and the difference has been entirely payable by the people of Pakistan. Pakistan imported around 17.5mn tons of Petroleum products & crude oil worth about USD 11.5bn in year 2007-08. Over 5mn tons was RFO/HFO. Pakistan’s power generation from oil crossed a disastrous 35%. The world average is 5.8%. The huge current account deficit & load-shedding regime is before us. No thanks to the anti-dam lobbyists
g) The concerns of Sindh seem to be increasing every year due to a simple reason. There is less water in the rivers and the Sindhis are told that this is the fault of the Punjab. These accusations will become more serious as there will be less water every year. Sindh has to realize that its underground water is not useable and surface water is therefore its’ salvation. The two months of monsoon or flood season will feed the reservoirs that will keep the rivers flowing for the next ten months. The poverty cycle cannot be reversed without the re-vitalization of the IBIS (Indus Basin Irrigation System). It is a machine worth at least USD 500 billion (today’s replacement value) and is simply water short. Lining its water courses and distributaries is a pittance and is feasible only if the subsoil water is saline otherwise normal seepage recharges aquifers and is not lost. Reservoir capacity is the core issue. Why the water theft in Kashmir is ignored?
h) The surface flows from the three western rivers are reducing every year. As my article “CIBSA response to ICID challenge” states, the Indians are increasingly diverting waters from occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Why is it that the extra flow due to global warming is not being reflected? Every year we receive lesser surface waters. The unbelievable reduction of Chenab Main from 1983 upto 2008 at Marala Headworks (entry point) is available through four charts. The Indian commitment to ensure 55,000 cusecs in Chenab at Marala is now a mirage as since years the average flow does not cross 18,000 cusecs. India suddenly released some water on 18 May 2009. For a few days after many years Chenab touched 30,000 cusecs flow. Perhaps we managed to provoke India to an extent that she released water into the Chenab during this time. In Kashmir Chenab waters diversion to Ravi in East Punjab is no engineering problem for India. India’s water war is surreptitious. Indian statements that she only uses occupied Kashmir waters for “run of the river” power generation is a blatant lie. Is she willing to let neutral experts of World Bank & other agencies to monitor the inflows into all her infrastructure projects in held Kashmir? Why is it that she needs storages for these “run of the river” projects? Even one day’s reserve is too much. Of course she will never agree to provide us with the inflow data at Baghliar I. We only know what comes downstream (outflows). The withdrawals are her state secret. It is clear why she has built or is building 61 Infrastructure projects in occupied Kashmir. There are strong reports of tunneling as well. India admits that Kashmir projects will generate 28,000MW. Through it all, the Pakistani bureaucracy continues to sleep. The politicians of all shades are ignorant
i) Let us understand that global warming & subsequent glacier retreat is an undeniable reality. Based on historic and current data, I estimate that the inflow of Indus, Jhelum & Chenab has increased by about 40 MAF for the next 20 to 40 years. India does not divulge; clearly by diverting Kashmir waters she denudes Pakistan & enriches India. In 2006, India launched the World’s largest single irrigation project estimated to cost over USD 212bn. This River Linking project is clearly predicating the theft of Pakistan’s waters flowing through Jammu & Kashmir. CIBSA must help us fully understand and then educate the world about this menacing & dangerous enterprise. India had by 2003 already achieved more than 250MAF storage representing more than 30% of its surface flows and with this so-called River Linking project she will cross 40% capacity.
CONCLUSION: Pakistan now has less than 8% storage capability of its 145MAF annual surface flows. The role of sweet water is an existential issue in Pakistan’s financial sustainability and survival. Maximum water availability fell below 1AF per person in the last decade and of this only 8% can be now stored & utilized. Even 1AF per year (little over 1,000 m3) is the bench mark of a “water stressed” nation. Potentially the richest nation of South Asia has become a basket case. Economic & financial depression has resulted in cataclysmic tendencies within the Federation. It is estimated that the political anti-dam lobbies supported by India have ensured that Pakistan wastes around USD 60bn worth of water every year. The nation has been blessed with five of the seven largest glaciers on the planet. The Pakistani government must wake up to this reality and its blatant disregard and abuse of both the Indus Basin surface flows & the IBIS. India must stop its inhuman & illegal activities. This is a recipe for the genocide of the Pakistani people and possibly lead to the disintegration of the Federation through serious provincial conflict, de-industrialization, famine and poverty. The region could become a nuclear flashpoint due to this Indian policy. International players must become aware of this crucial reality as well. Territory of Jammu & Kashmir is being used in a deadly game against Pakistan’s existence. Adolf Hitler borrowed the symbol of the Hindu war-god “the Swastika”. Let India not borrow Hitler’s mindset. Certainly we were born from the same womb, and as such owe great ties to one another. Based on this Pakistan can offer India vast partnerships in economy and culture. This surreptitious undeclared war by India is leading to history’s greatest genocide. How many millions have already perished due to famine & disease can only be imagined. Let men & women of goodwill all over the world including India rise and be heard.
Pakistan Paindabad Engr. Suleman N. Khan/WRDC
21 July 09 (rev)