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India transcends all bounds of insanity.

Byline: M FAZAL ELAHI

As if all the insanity of the incumbent Indian government, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has shown in the last almost three months has not been enough, India has now got down to audaciously threatening Pakistan of diverting the western rivers' flow to Pakistan. The threat, one must know, has come from no less than Prime Minister Modi himself.

Modi brashly said New Delhi will stop water from the Indian rivers that had been flowing to Pakistan and give it to the Indian farmers. Emphasizing his intent to do so, he said 'This water belongs to the farmers of Haryana, Rajasthan, and the country, and we will get it'. All this was very proudly said while addressing an election rally at Charkhi Dadri in the Indian state of Haryana on October 15. Further elaborating, Modi informed his audience that work towards realization had already begun. He told them that India will put to use its share of water from the rivers flowing to Pakistan and assured that every single drop would be provided to the country's farmers.

One is at loss to understand why Modi, for one reason or another, always fails to appreciate that there are some laws and treaties that govern such vital issues and India cannot take such whimsical decisions unilaterally. If, however, Modi made this declaration exclusively for public consumption then it is quite understandable.

The Kashmir imbroglio is acquiring critical dimensions. India's dastardly threat to divert the western rivers' flow away from Pakistan is definitely bound to further aggravate the already inflammable situation

Pakistan, as persuasively stated by Pakistan's Foreign Office, has exclusive rights over the three rivers India is talking about, under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). India, therefore, cannot stop water flowing from these rivers to Pakistan. In view of this, Pakistan has warned India to desist from diverting the western water flow to Pakistan. To further emphasize its stance on this critical issue, Pakistan has firmly said that any attempt by India to divert the flow of the Western rivers will be considered 'an act of aggression and Pakistan has the right to respond.'

Readers must be acquainted with the IWT and also how it works. As articulated in the World Bank brief of 11 June 2018, the Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of the World Bank, which is also a signatory. The negotiations were the initiative of former World Bank President Eugene Black. Seen as one of the most successful international treaties, it has survived frequent tensions, including conflict, and has provided a framework for irrigation and hydropower development for more than half a century. Former US President Dwight Eisenhower described it as 'one bright spot ... in a very depressing world picture that we see so often.'

The Treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers, known as the Permanent Indus Commission, which has a commissioner from each country. The Treaty also sets forth distinct procedures to handle issues which may arise: 'questions' are handled by the Commission; 'differences' are to be resolved by a Neutral Expert; and 'disputes' are to be referred to a seven-member arbitral tribunal called the 'Court of Arbitration.' Despite the fact that as a signatory to the Treaty, the World Bank's role is limited and procedural, the World Bank remains committed to act in good faith and with complete impartiality and transparency in fulfilling its responsibilities under the Treaty, while continuing to assist the countries.

iokModi's venturing into a new escapade against Pakistan, impudently threatening to stop water from the Indian rivers, reflects nothing but his insanity that has acquired irrepressible proportions because of the volatile situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). What Modi fails to appreciate is that intimidating Pakistan with such repressive measures would not frighten it a bit. Pakistan will never get cowed down by such threats and will continue to assiduously raise its voice in support of the subjugated people of occupied Kashmir at every international forum. It has done it in the recent past and it would continue to do so until India immediately stops committing atrocities on innocent men, women and children in IOK, and the people of the occupied territory are granted the right to self-determination as assured under the UN Resolution of 1948.

India and Pakistan are at logger-heads with each other over the grave issue of IOK. Emboldened by the silence of the world community and fully backed by the belligerent Modi government, the vicious Indian forces are incessantly engaged in committing atrocities on the innocent and totally unarmed people of occupied Kashmir. Human rights abuses being committed by India in the occupied territory have crossed all bounds of civility and international law. Failure of the international human rights organizations to prevail on India to stop human rights abuses in IOK is encouraging India to blatantly pursue its policy of violence against the Kashmiris and deprive them of their fundamental rights.

Needless to say, with every passing day the Kashmir imbroglio is acquiring critical dimensions. India's dastardly threat to divert the western rivers' flow away from Pakistan is definitely bound to further aggravate the already inflammable situation. The UN, the USA in particular and the world community in general, must take immediate cognizance of the threats that India is hurling at Pakistan, the atrocities its forces are brazenly committing in occupied Kashmir, and its utter contravention of all international norms and resolutions vis-a-vis issues of international significance.
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Author:M FAZAL ELAHI
Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Nov 28, 2019
Words:1007
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