A Committee of Senate should be constituted to resolve water issues between provinces: Raza Rabbani

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ISLAMABAD: Former Chairman Senate of Pakistan Raza Rabbani has said that water shortage for the current crops is growing and the lower riparian
are being denied their rightful share. In his speech he said that the 1991 Accord, was opposed by the PPP, when it was signed by Jam Sadiq Ali as the Chief Minister. It was accepted under protest hoping that it will bridge the intra provincial tension on the water issue, but now the Accord itself is not being implemented.

The Accord allocates water to the Provinces on the basis of historical
usage. Its ambiguous wording allows different stakeholders to interpret
it according to their own interests. The Accord assumes availability of a
117.35 MAF of water in the Indus Basin System for distribution. In
reality, this exact quantity was never available nor it ever will be.
IRSA has been distributing water for the last 30 years, with shortages
and the Province of Sindh demanding its share.

As a consequence the Provinces have been accusing each other of
stealing water and IRSA is blaming them for misreporting. In the current year the desilting of Tarbela Dam has not taken place, further in the month of March, the releases of water are reduced, saving it for the crops, but this time the releases were increased by IRSA for the purpose of power generation.

Distribution of water is taking place under section 14 of the Accord,
whereas, it should be taking place under Section 2B of the Accord.
On 24th May, 2021, a meeting of the Standing Committee on Water
Resources, National Assembly, under Chairmanship of Nawab Yusuf
Talpur, wherein it was decided not to open the TP Link Canal till the
water situation improved.

Subsequently, in a meeting of IRSA it was also decided not to open the
TP Link Canal till the situation of water improved. This decision was
taken by the majority of three to one votes. The members from Sindh,
KPK and Baluchistan voted against the opening of the TP Link Canal.
In defiance of the decision of the Standing Committee and IRSA’s owns
majority decision, on 25th May, 2021, it is reported that the TP Link
Canal was opened. When this issue was raised at a subsequent meeting
of IRSA, the Chairman lost his temper on the Member, Sindh.

Therefore, in the given circumstances in order to settle the water issue
between the Provinces and reduce intra provincial tension, it will be
advisable if a new Accord is negotiated on the basis of the 1945 Sindh,
Punjab Agreement. The Provinces of KPK and Baluchistan have no
cavil with the 1945 Agreement.

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