Paying the price

Published: Tuesday 31 August 2004

-- To tide over acute water crisis in the Punjab province of Pakistan, members of parliament of the ruling coalition of Punjab have asked the government to buy water from India. They have also demanded renegotiation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty with New Delhi over the Sutlej waters. Members of the treasury benches, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari and Sardar Saleem Jan Mazari, moved a motion in the national assembly on the issue. According to them, parts of Punjab province faced severe water shortage leading to damaged crops and a drought-like situation. Pirzada said, besides discussing Kashmir and other political issues, the government should negotiate the purchase of water to save the 50 million people in southern Punjab. Former military ruler Ayub Khan had "sold" the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers under the Indus Water Treaty in 1960, which formed the primary water source of the Seraiki belt, he said.

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