Revisiting Indus treaty may open Pandora’s box: Daily

Islamabad, March 9 (IANS) Revisiting the Indus Waters Treaty could open a Pandora’s box for Pakistan, said an influential Pakistani daily.

An editorial “Indus Waters Treaty” in the Dawn on Wednesday said that the Senate resolution asking the government to ‘revisit’ the Indus Waters Treaty with India is “bizarre”.

“What is even more confusing is the eagerness with which the resolution was supported by senators from the PPP, who have had many opportunities in power to do exactly that, but had made no mention of it until now,” it said.

The daily added: “It appears the senators are either not aware what ‘revisiting’ the treaty would entail or are not serious about what they are saying.”

The daily said that “revisiting this treaty could open a Pandora’s box for Pakistan, and may not work to its advantage given India’s far greater autonomy of action today as compared to the years following Partition, when the treaty was negotiated”.

“What must also be realised is that Pakistan’s water woes are more a result of domestic realities than anything connected with the treaty.”

The editorial went on to say that agriculture accounts for the bulk of freshwater utilisation in Pakistan, and the problems are linked more to the entitlements regime that govern water allocations, as well as wasteful farm practices.

“Hardly any effort has been made to rectify these or build more reservoirs.”

The daily wondered: “What legal options does Pakistan have to force India to ‘revisit’ the treaty? What would we seek to get out of this process? And what leverage do we have to obtain compliance with our terms?”

It noted that the “hapless minister of state for water and power tried to point out these issues, but the chair sent the resolution for a vote before they could be addressed.”

“As a result, the situation ended up looking a little absurd, with the Senate holding a bombastic resolution in its hands but without a clue about what to do next.”

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