Islamabad: The Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan that regulates the sharing of the river’s waters has provided “a fairly successful model of conflict resolution”, a new study here has said.
Chronicling Pakistan’s water discourse, the report says says water was flagged as one of the foremost security challenges that confront the country, at par with the threat of terrorism.
The study, conducted by Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute, nevertheless says that opinion remains divided on whether the Indus Water Treaty has served to protect Pakistan’s interest.
However, it said, “The treaty has provided a fairly successful model of conflict resolution, albeit its inadequacies on environmental flows and climate change may be addressed in a supplementary protocol in future”.
It added that political distrust between India and Pakistan inhibits any real cooperation in the Indus Basin. Speaking at the launch of the report here, Ahmad Alam, a co-author, said that none of the water experts that he spoke to, including the Indus Water Commissioner to an ordinary official, mentioned that India has violated the Indus water treaty. He said they came close to it but never really said it.
However, Alam said that he also came across people who blamed India for stealing water due to which they cannot take a proper bath.
The report said that many respondents also felt that India was entitled to its share of water – including the building of dams – under the treaty, and the impression that India was “stealing” Pakistan’s share was not based on any real empirical evidence.
It added that rapid scale of upstream construction had arguably impacted cumulative flows, and some responses flagged the “unverifiable” flow data provided by India as a source of concern.