By S M Hali
During the last few decades, Pakistan is facing a severe water shortage in the rivers running from Indian Occupied Kashmir to Pakistan which is consequently resulting in scarcity of water for irrigation and energy generation purposes. India is not only violating Indus Water Treaty by building hundreds of small and large water reservoirs or uplifting the existing dams but also encouraging and financing construction of dams in Afghanistan which will further deteriorate the water situation in Pakistani rivers.
Under the Indus Water Treaty; Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers were allocated to Pakistan. However India has built many dams on them that have caused severe shortage of water in Pakistan damaging its economy, especially agriculture. Now India has started building dams on the tributaries of these rivers as well, which will further stop water flowing towards Pakistan and damage our economy. Indian political leaders have oft repeated this anti-Pakistan slogan that they will turn the fertile and verdant pastures of Pakistan into deserts and cause drought and famine. Despite this clearly inimical posture by India, unfortunately, there are certain nationalist elements in Pakistan especially in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), who on one side strongly oppose the construction of water reservoirs in Pakistan i.e. Kalabagh Dam; and on the other side encourage India to build dams on the rivers flowing to Pakistan either from India or Afghanistan. In this context, one needs to examine the recent statements by some leaders. During the month of April 2013, the Chairman of Awami National Party (ANP), Asfandyar Wali Khan, in an interview to Radio Pakistan categorically declared that Pakistan should not criticize the uplift projects of India in Afghanistan. He added that if India wants to build roads and hospitals in Afghanistan, then Islamabad should not oppose the activities and avoid creating paranoia over the role of India. He further questioned that “Will Islamabad tolerate Kabul’s criticism over the construction of a port by China at Gwadar in Balochistan?”
It is sad that parallels are being drawn to Chinese uplift and development projects in Pakistan to Indian machination in Afghanistan. India has been sullying the waters in Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan right from the inception of Pakistan. It has been trying to crush Pakistan through the traditional “hammer and anvil” approach, by applying pressure through Afghanistan as well as its own hinterland. If only Indian overtures and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan were based on humanitarian considerations, Pakistan would surely welcome them. Not only local defence and security analysts but international scholars like Christine Fair, an assistant professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies, within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and expert on the region has observed that the fourteen Indian Consulates and Trade Missions in Afghanistan, far exceed the Indian Consulates and Trade Missions located in the USA. Moreover she has observed that these Indian establishments are staffed by RAW operatives, engaged in destabilizing Pakistan. It is a fact that the RAW has built an arc around Pakistan, where it recruits, trains, equips and launches anti-Pakistan elements to conduct a proxy war and hpw destabilize Pakistan.
FATA and KPK are suffering terrorism and cross-border attacks of TTP groups operating from the safe havens in Afghanistan with the connivance of Afghanistan. ANP has paid the biggest price in this proxy war. Its political leaders have been targeted with impunity and killed, its election rallies have been disrupted through terror attacks and even Asfandyar Wali has been assailed at his residence, where he escaped unscathed but his personal bodyguards were killed. If these political leaders fail to recognize the heinous viscera of the enemy, then they are behaving like the ostrich that buries its head in the sand, in face of impending danger.
As far as Indian role in construction of road and hospitals in Afghanistan is concerned, there are solid evidences that India is carrying out its covert anti-Pakistan operations using the Afghan soil in the garb of welfare projects. Afghanistan’s strategic location, overlooking both the strife-torn province of Balochistan and KPK are ideal launching pads for India to spell doom and gloom for Pakistan. Baloch dissidents are motivated in Indian sponsored camps in Afghanistan and their odious activities are executed from there.
It is of serious concern that statements by ANP leaders supporting Indian projects in Afghanistan, which harm Pakistan’s strategic interests, indicate the myopic tendencies of the Pakistani politicians. One needs to learn a lesson from the enemy itself. In the recent case of the RAW operative Sarabjit Singh, who illegally crossed international border and undertook terrorist activities in major cities and industrial hubs of Pakistan (Lahore and Faisalabad, was convicted of by an anti-terrorist court in Pakistan and sentenced to death for his involvement and confession to have exploded a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990, inflicting severe injuries to others, besides destroying the precious property united the entire Indian political divide on the issue. Unfortunately when he used anti Pakistan language and provoked other fellow prisoners he was reportedly attacked by other prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Jail on April 26, 2013. Since he was badly injured, therefore, he was immediately shifted to hospital for treatment. The Government and people of Pakistan took sympathetic and humanitarian view of the case. Hence, he was provided best of medical support, but he could not survive. Pakistanexpressed its condolence and ordered judicial investigation.
Indian media projected him as the hero while he was a declared and convicted terrorist who killed 14 innocent people in Pakistan. Leaders from various sections of the political divide hailed Sarabjit as hero and attended his funeral. On the other hand, the in-house divide in Pakistan not only gives a negative impression of the country but will also reduce our grip on the basic issues with India and Afghanistan. Our political leaders should see the broader picture and learn to identify the enemy as well see through its machinations. That is what statesmanship is about.