Water is considered as one of the most curcial non-conventional security drivers that can have potentially devastating implications for inter-state and intra-state relations. Pakistan, with its shared water lines across and within the borders has endured onerous challenges on both fronts. This explains the paramountcy of water security for Pakistan.
With rapidly multiplying population and unabated urbanisation, water will remain at the centre of internal and external conflicts and will continue to draw country’s political fault lines. The sensitivity attached with water puts the national and communal harmony to the test every year. Water and power development authority (WAPDA) recently held a series of consultative meetings to kick off the prime minister’s initiative on water security. As reported in newspapers, the initiative takes a panoramic vista of water challenge covering both demand and supply side aspects.
According to newspaper reports, the initiative follows a report “understanding Pakistan’s water-security nexus” issued by the US Institute of Peace in 2013. The report was yet another reminder of chronic water woes of Pakistan and made a portentous forecast that “because of overuse and misuse, Pakistan is headed toward a serious water crisis. The UN is expected to downgrade Pakistan from ‘water stressed’ to ‘water scarce’ country by 2030. While issues between India and Pakistan often draw attention, water conflicts within Pakistan’s borders have the explosive potential to poison inter-ethnic and inter-provincial relations and turn simmering tension into violence. In a country where livelihoods depend heavily on reliable access to water, effectively managing water resources can transform a common lightning rod for conflict into an opportunity for building intra-communal cooperation and trust