C2 LUMS: “Pakistan and India to protect the water, a lifeline to culture, economy, and technology of both the countries”, expressed by the speakers of a symposium on history and future of Indus Basin. The symposium was organised by Center for Water Informatics and Technology (WIT) operated from Syed Baber Ali School of Science and Engineering, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in collaboration with Khwarizmi Science Society (KSS).

Speakers said: “Historically, water was used as a weapon and conflicts should be avoided and settle down peacefully because water is surely a lifeline of the people living in both the countries.”

Dr David Gilmartin from North Carolina State University launched his book titled Blood and Water: The Indus River in Modern History published by California University Press. He said that British rule in subcontinent devised a canal system can be sensed from the quote of the then Punjab Chief Engineer to Indian Irrigation Commission S L Jacob in 1901: “Use every drop of available water as far as possible, every bid of land which needs water to be irrigated if possible, even if the schemes be costly.” He said Indian premier Nehru named water dams as temples of India.

He said with 1947 partition, Indus Basin also divided but later both the countries engaged in controversies. “In India Bhakra Dam through which Rajasthan Canal was dig out stirred controversy between Indian Punjab and Rajasthan. Same controversy stirred between Punjab and Haryana states on Sutlej Yamuna link canal. To avoid this, do not let away water from its original course which will disturbed the Indus Bain ultimately. On Pakistan side, he said, Chasma-Jehlum link canal stirred controversy and Sindh and Punjab leaders often exchange words over the usage of water. Pakistan dug out BRB canal after partition. “Sindh has manipulated water of Indus River sometimes,” he maintained.

Moreover, the speakers stressed the need for planning because this region was facing severe shortage of water. “Not only should the Indus Basin system be reviewed with improvements but also the irrigation system of the country to be overhauled.”

Dr Imran Ali from Karachi School of Business and Leadership said at present we are doing water management without having any water.

Syed Baber Ali of LUMS was of the view that a thought provoking discussion on the Indus Basin would be beneficial for academic community, development agencies and policy makers. He thanked people for showing their participation in a serious issue.

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