SUKKUR: Oxfam International Regional Head Asia Ghulam Mustafa Talpur said that fair distribution of resources was the panacea for all ills being faced by Pakistan today. The country needed a paradigm shift in water governance, Talpur said. Delivering a lecture on ‘Redefining water resource management for sustainable and equitable use in Pakistan’, during a graduate seminar held in US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water, he said the vision of a fair and just society in Pakistan could only be materialised by an equitable distribution of natural resources and providing equal opportunities to access all basic needs of life, to all. He said the cycle of water-wealth and power exists in Pakistan and a handful few usurped the resources of many and denied their legal rights, including water rights. In Pakistan, women play a pivotal role in agrarian society but the country had a gender-blind water system. He said the majority of women in the country engaged in agriculture but had been denied their water rights because they do not possess land in most cases. He said that effective land reforms needed to be introduced to grant land rights to women. “Water is more valuable than land, because when water is applied to land it increases its productiveness at least six-fold”, Talpur said, quoting Sir Charles Trevelyan, a British civil servant who served in subcontinent. He said that rich and powerful people in Pakistan intentionally keep the majority, especially tail-end farmers, in deprivation and deny their rights of water. He said these powerful people, unfortunately, had ruled the country since its inception and had influence in legislation and administration. He said people in Sindh were denied access to safe and clean drinking water. In Badin and Thatta, people were literally drinking drainage water, which exposes them to fatal water-borne diseases, Talpur said. Published in Daily Times, October 15th 2017.