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Pak MPs want to buy water from India
July 28, 2004 15:38 IST
Pakistan's ruling coalition's MPs from Punjab province have asked the government to buy water from India to tide over the acute crisis in their region, and demanded that the 1960 Indus Water Treaty to be renegotiated with New Delhi for getting Sutlej water.
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 yesterday on the issue saying that 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 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 primary water source of the Seraiki belt, he said.
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The treaty, negotiated by the World Bank, was signed by Ayub Khan and Jawaharlal Nehru under which Ravi, Sutlej and Beas were awarded to India, while Pakistan was given the rights on Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
Barring some disputes about Indian plans to construct hydro-electric projects like Baglihar, the water treaty has worked smoothly between the two countries. However, inter-provincial disputes over water, specially between Punjab and the rest of the three small provinces, Sindh, North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan have generated tensions in Pakistan.
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