Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS), one of the leading university-based think
tanks of Pakistan, organised a high-level roundtable, "Managing the
Waters: Appraising the Problems & Ways Forward," here on October 23,
2019. Besides policy researchers, academics and students, the roundtable was attended
by eminent personalities and experts from Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh. It dealt
at length with the problems and challenges associated with national water resources
development, management and governance.
In his opening remarks, Lt Gen Naweed Zaman, HI (M), (Retd),
Rector NUST & Patron NIPS, stated that the inefficient use of water across
the board had, inter alia, caused Pakistan to become a severely water-stressed
country. He said the current unsustainable patterns of national water use, if
not revised radically, could make Pakistan water-scarce in future. He advised
that a water-saving approach is required to be promoted at all levels of
society. The Rector also highlighted the contribution of NUST to
awareness-raising through regular community and youth initiatives aimed at
efficient water consumption by individuals and households.
Engr Suleman Najib Khan, a noted water expert, in his meticulously
researched presentation, exposed India's blatant water aggression as well as
the flawed nature of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty which, in his estimation, was
never meant to be a Pakistan-friendly treaty. He further said that Pakistan
should aggressively highlight the issue on international platforms. Engr
Suleman recommended that a Commission for Indus Basin Strategic Analysis
(CIBSA), first proposed during the National Conference on Reservoirs at Islamabad
in February 1998, needed to be formed for functional R&D in the water
sector together with a Pakistan Energy Planning and Execution (PEPE) entity.
Dr Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman Pakistan Council of Research in Water
Resources (PCRWR), presented the problems of Pakistan's inland water resources.
He said Pakistan had the fourth largest groundwater resources in the world
after India, the US, and China but they were not the best managed. He
maintained that the construction of small and medium dams was needed along with
large dams, adding there was a further need to increase water use efficiency by
at least 30 percent by producing more crop per drop through use of new
Other recommendations included the urgent need for the depoliticisation
of water issues in Pakistan, the setting up of up-to-date water monitoring
systems, the plugging of water demand-supply gap, the formulation of water
recharge strategies, dynamic and aggressive water diplomacy, formation of
public-private partnerships in different areas of water management, etc.
The roundtable was moderated by Dr Muhammad Arshad, CEO
Consultants for Water & Environment. Prominent among the participants were
Engr Shamsul Mulk, former Chairman WAPDA; Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, DG NIPS and
Member Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council; Mr Ahmed Kamal, Chairman Federal
Flood Commission; Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali, DG NARC; Dr Zaigham Habib, senior
water and climate change expert; and Mr Ahmer Bilal Soofi, prominent
jurisconsult and former Caretaker Federal Minister for Law.
October 24, 2019