Water shortage turning into existential threat

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In the wake of worsening situation of water shortage across the country, particularly Balochilstan and Cholistan, it seems that the lack of this basic necessity of life is going to hit us in big way, more than the impact of either terrorism or corruption or even economic crisis.

The water-starved residents of both Cholistan and some districts of  Balochitan like Dera Bugti are crying in the bewilderness with no immediate relief in sight for them as it is a mammoth issues and the government too is less concerned about it as it has yet to understand and comprehend the gravity of this all-important issue that is taking toll on lives of citizens and their livestock in part of the country. The fact that people and cattle have started being killed by severe drought due to water shortage speaks volume of the situation and calls for an emergency to be decaled in these areas, where the road infrastructure too is very poor and it becomes extremely difficult to reach out to these people in far-flung areas by the common citizenry and the NGOs etc.

As a matter of fact, the water crisis has long been brewing in these areas since last many years, but the previous government did not pay heed to this issue and now the worst phase has come which is evident from the reports that as many 13 persons have lost lives due to non-availability of drinking water in Pikor areas of Dera Bugti while hundreds of cattle have been killed by a killer-drought in Cholistan (Punjab). The irony is that till now, neither the federal nor the provincial governments have sprung into action to come to the rescue of these people. They have only ordered inquiries which are not enough.

The number of deaths can be even more because it does not include those who lost lives due to drinking contaminated water due to non-availability of potable water. In fact, it is a two-way crisis.

On the one hand, water is not available, while on other hand, whatever little water is available, that is not safe to be drink by either humans or cattle. The federal and the provincial authorities are deep in slumber while the crisis is becoming graver by the day and if immediate steps were not taken, things will be out of control. The irony is that these areas are not within easy reach of the common citizenry and majority of the NGOs, otherwise the deaths could have been averted.

The Choloistan desert is facing the worst conditions due to heatwave and subsequent water and food shortage. As a matter of fact, majority of the areas in Balochistan as also the Cholistan desert depend on rain water but due to changing weather pattern due to climate change effects, these areas have received very little to no rains since March this year and the situation has risen to alarming level, putting lives of human and cattle at risk.

An influx of migration has also been reported from these areas but that is yet to be brought into limelight. Experts and international bodies including the United Nations have long been making hue and cry over the impending water crisis in Pakistan and the latter (UN) has also listed Pakistan among the extremely water-scarce countries. It is lamentable that the previous government of PTI was trumpeting about establishing a dam and also collected millions from people in the name of dam construction, but one fails to understand as to what happened to those promises by the PTI chief Imran Khan.

The nation must make him accountable for what he had promised regarding construction of dam to address water issues. His hollow slogans have let his government down and now he is crying for help from masses to come on the roads to rescue him.

The masses should ask him as to what did he do with the Dam project and why did he not worked on water front despite his promises to do so. And the now the situation is that we are faced with droughts. There are over two lakh inhabitants of Cholistan whose main source of income is  cattle and livestock, but the same are dying due to water shortage .

SO it’s double-fold crisis, on the one hand, water is scarce in Baloschistan and Cholistan while on her other hand, the cattle too are dying paving way to severe food shortage. In coming days, people of the water-affected areas will also die due to hunger in Cholistan and Balochistan districts. One hopes the current government awakens to the grim reality and springs into action to ensure steps on emergency basis because mere lip services will not make any difference. It is time for action and not enquiries or lip-services or a political rhetoric. We should stop doing politics on issues which need immediate redressal other we as a nation will be nowhere. After all when will the successive governments under the mantra that democracy is to serve masses.

Already the people are dying, their cattle are at the verge of extinction resulting in loss of their livelihood but no solid help from the government side is in sight.

Punjab CM has taken notice of the issue but what his government is required is to rush to the affected people to rescue them immediately. The irony is that we as a nation are not awakened to this water scarcity issue which can become a threat to our existence. The water resources are depleting elsewhere and even big urban centres like Karachi, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Islamabad and Lahore are facing the water woes from time to time.

A  recent reported revealed that Lahore is too fast approaching the crisis level as the ground water resources are fast depleting in this mega city. Not only water is becoming scarce but also the levels of arsenic which are poisonous to our health are increasing in this ground water and situation will come when the cries for the help will be heard all around.