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Pak, not India, mismanaging Indus water: Qureshi

April 30, 2010 22:57 IST

Pakistani authorities have a tendency to "pass the buck" and exaggerate differences with India over the sharing of river waters though mismanagement within the country is resulting in the loss of 34 million acre feet of water, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi said on Friday.

Qureshi made the remarks when he was asked at a news conference whether Pakistan had taken up the issue of India trying to block the flow of rivers by building dams during a meeting on Thursday between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

Pakistan had taken up the issue during the meeting on the sidelines of a SAARC summit in Bhutan but Pakistani authorities have a "tendency to exaggerate" and "pass the buck" in this regard, Qureshi said.

The average supply of water that reaches Pakistan is 104 million acre feet while the water that is consumed is 70 million acre feet, he pointed out.

"Where is the 34 million acre feet of water going? Is India stealing that water from you? No, it is not. Please do not fool yourselves and do not misguide the nation. We are mismanaging that water," the foreign minister said.

Pakistan "must understand" actions made by India, including the construction of dams and water projects, if they comply with the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, he said.

Pakistan has to see if new structures being built in the Indian side of Kashmir are "in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty or in violation of it", he added.

"We should examine the Indus Waters Treaty and its annexures which are binding. If there are any violations, we must take them up and will do it without any compromise as water is a matter of life and death for us. Pakistan's progress and economy (is) dependent on water and there will be no compromise on it," he said.

Qureshi also hinted that the Foreign Office had not received any information from the concerned ministry about violations of the treaty by India for almost 20 years but did not give details.

Differences over the sharing of river waters have emerged as a major irritant in bilateral ties in recent years. Pakistani politicians have accused India of trying to turn the country into a desert by building a large number of dams and power projects on rivers in Jammu and Kashmir.

India has denied the charges and said the flow in the rivers has been affected by climate change and low rainfall.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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