Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has blamed Former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) administration for the severe water crisis in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. He stated that the PTI administration has failed to provide Sindh with its fair share of water. Bhutto-Zardari recently highlighted the matter at the United Nations, claiming that the country is suffering from a serious water crisis, criticizing the previous government of Imran Khan for its policies, which he claims contributed to the current water crisis.
The provinces have so far been unable to reach an agreement on how to resolve the issue, resulting in high tensions. The situation is so dire that the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture, a lobbying group for the province’s farmers, has demanded that the province be declared “drought-affected” because around 60% of the existing water shortage has turned fertile agricultural lands unproductive while also causing drinking water issues.
Sindh Minister for Irrigation, Jam Khan Shoro has blamed Punjab’s irrigation officials for the water shortage in Sindh. However, Punjab’s irrigation officials, on the other hand, blamed the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) for exacerbating the issue by allocating the province up to 26% less water than its total share in the previous month.
Over 85% of Balochistan’s population lacks access to safe drinking water
On the other hand, over 85% of Balochistan’s population lacks access to safe drinking water, resulting in a devastating cholera outbreak in the region, which has claimed the lives of six people and infected over 2,500 since mid-April in the Pir Koh tehsil of Dera Bugti district. The water issue in Balochistan has reached emergency proportions. Water shortages are significant in areas such as Gwadar, which is the focal centre of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Massive protests erupted in Gwadar in November of last year in response to severe water and electricity shortages, as well as threats to livelihoods posed by illegal fishing by Chinese fishermen.
No meaningful action has been taken
International Forum For Rights And Security (IFFRAS) noted that no meaningful action has been taken on the ground to manage the outbreak other than a few official remarks, promises of “emergency relief measures,” and visits to Pir Koh. A recent UN report titled ‘Global Land Outlook suggests that Pakistan is one of 23 countries worldwide suffering from a severe and extended drought.
(Inputs from ANI)
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