islamabad—Lack of communication between foreign office and ministry for water and powerseemed to have put Pakistan and Afghanistan into uncertainty over the trans-border water issue involving Kabul River Basin in the backdrop of emerging water shortage.
Available documents in this regard reveal that government of Afghanistan continued to build multi-purpose water projects on the tributaries of the Kabul River with assistance from the international community. India has been assisting Afghanistan in this move, which will adversely impact Pakistan. The documents also show that the World Bank had pledged funding for 12 dams in Afghanistan dams that will cost $7.079 billion.
Pakistan and Afghanistan currently share nine rivers with annual flows of about 18.3 million acres feet (MAF) of which Kabul River accounts for 16.5 MAF. River Chitral, which originates from Pakistan, contributes about 8.5 MAF. After it enters Afghanistan this river is called River Kunar. It joins the Kabul River near Jalalabad and then re-enters Pakistan.
Hamid Karazai, the former president of Afghanistan and former Pakistani PM, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf during one on one meeting in 2012 deliberated about water pact between the countries for utilization of trans-border resources on the pattern of Pak-India Indus Water Basin Treaty of 1960.
However the ministry of water and power and foreign office passed the buck to each other regarding the move commenced by Indian authorities to help Afghanistan to build more than 12 small, medium and mega hydropower projects over Kabul River Basin (KRB) the projects are likely to affect the irrigation system and make Pakistani lands bordering Afghanistan barren in the coming years.
The ministry of water and power’s top bureaucracy seems least interested in protecting Pakistan’s interest in the context of rivers shared with Afghanistan.
India has already restricted the flow of waters in the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab rivers by building hydropower projects on these rivers. Indians have also intensified water war against Pakistan with infrastructure assistance to Afghanistan to build 12 hydropower projects on the Kabul River.
The US authorities have also offered their services to facilitate a water treaty between Pakistan and Afghanistan to ward off a future water dispute between the two countries. But even on that account not much progress has been made, revealed thesources in ministry of water and power.
The energy sector top bureaucrats believe that they can only give technical advice but the matter has to be resolved by theforeign ministry, where dozens of files in this regard are gathering dust. They believe that foreign office has not even returned a single response on any of the concerned issues raised by minister of water and power.
A senior official of Indus River System Authority on condition of anonymity told daily “Pakistan Observer” that Afghanistan has the right to utilize water from the Kabul River as upper riparian. The total flow of Kabul River is 21,000 Million CubicMeter, but River Kunar, which contributes 15,000 Million Cubic Meter of water to the Kabul River, could be affected by unjustified construction of hydropower projects over KRB without any water pact between both the countries.
Serious Water Wars Gathering Soot in Foreign Ministry