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> Political decision-making through Dialogue needed to resolve issues over construction of reservoirs: Balochistan MPAs
Roundtable Discussion
January 21, 2011


Quetta, January 21: In a Roundtable Discussion for Members of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan on Inter-Provincial Water Issues in Pakistan, organized by PILDAT, MPAs from Balochistan were of the opinion that issues of construction of reservoirs, including Kalabagh Dam have been overly politicized and political decision-making based on dialogue is needed urgently to resolve issues and misunderstandings.


This roundtable discussion has been part of a series of similar roundtables being organized by PILDAT across national and provincial legislatures.


Honourable Mr. Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, Speaker Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, while speaking at the occasion, said that water crisis lies at the heart of our survival and needs to be resolved urgently. He appreciated PILDAT for organizing and facilitating dialogue on this key issue and said that through this roundtable few apprehensions have been cleared and only such an initiative can pave the way for future development of water resources as well as conservation and better management of water resources. Recent floods have once again highlighted the question of water resources management in Pakistan. There has been divergence of views among the provinces about the desirability of instituting water development projects but the dialogue is only way forward to reach consensus.


Leading water experts from all provinces including Mr. Muhammad Idrees Rajput, former Secretary Irrigation Sindh, Mr. Mohammad Amin, member IRSA, Balochistan, Rao Irshad Ali Khan, Chairman IRSA from Punjab made presentations on different view points on inter provincial water issues. A background paper, prepared by PILDAT and approved by a PILDAT-facilitated Inter-Provincial Steering Committee of Water Experts, was also shared with MPAs at the Roundtable Discussion.


Experts were of the view that the elected representatives can play an important role in consensus-building among different stockholders. They should also work for removing trust deficit among provinces which is the biggest hurdle. They said that not only on Indus river but off channel dams should also be constructed to fulfill future need. They also stress the need of water conservation as well.


Earlier, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT, in his opening remarks pointed out reasons behind this effort, said, that the PILDAT effort is to raise the issue, generate debate on it and create awareness for consensus-building He said that after the devastating flood this is the right time to discuss such issue. He was of the view that by democratic way with discussion and dialogue interprovincial water issues can be solved. He said that the ultimate objective is to resolve such issues through sustained and informed dialogue among all provincial stakeholders.


PILDAT unveiled two papers at the Roundtable Discussion including Background Paper on Inter-Provincial Water Issues and a Case Study on Inter-State Water Disputes among the Riparian States: The Case of Cauvery River from Peninsular India.