While rest of the world was seen making plans and promises on the World Water Day on March 22 to raise awareness on how the global water resources can be secured to help fulfill rightful needs of the people, quite contrarily the thicker heads in India must be painstakingly deliberating on how to make more barrages, dams or diversions on the rivers that flow to Pakistan so as to convert its green arable landscape to frightening deserts. The sole aim to be achieved by India through these highly sadistic acts is simple: bring the ‘maverick Pakistan’ on knees, beseeching for every single drop of water to meet the basic needs of its fields, masses and the livestock. This might appear implausible to the world outside this region, yet for the countries in the sub-continent this is how India has been implementing its conspiracy theories on next-door neighbours since long.Last month Nitin Gadkari, Indian minister for transport and waterresources, spitefully disclosed that “our government has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. We will divert water from eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.” India’s coercive outbursts to stop water flowing through its rivers to Pakistan are not a new phenomenon as such threats have been aired many a time before as well. However, the tone appears more determined this time for launching a ‘water war’ in the backdrop of last month’s Pulwama incident for which Indiahad baselessly blamed Pakistan yet again. Understandably, Indian anger onto Pakistan was expected to fly high especially after the episode of Indian Air Force trespassing Pakistan’s aerial frontiers on 26/27 February which culminated into a fatal misadventure for their pilots and the planes besides becoming a matter of utter embarrassment for the country internationally. As per Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), inked between Pakistan and India in 1960 with World Bank as guarantor, the right of utilizing waters of rivers Indus, Chenab and Jhelum was given to Pakistan, while the treaty gave India control over three eastern rivers – Beas, Ravi and Sutlej. However, the pact did not permit the parties to undertake complete blockage or diversion of any of the six rivers that came under IWT. Practically speaking, the diversion of rivers’ natural course of flow would not be an easy task, nevertheless merely initiating and attempting such a deviant act could be catastrophic to the millions of people both in India and Pakistan who depend on the waters of these rivers. Although this latest threat is not accompanied by details on when or how India will divert downstream waters away from Pakistan or how large, yet their intensions have become absolutely clear when the Indian minister issued a rejoinder that “we will stop our share of water from flowing into Pakistan”.In fact, it does not harm Pakistan much if India restricts itself only to re-routing of the rivers that fall in its share under the IWT. An identical response has been given by Pakistan’s Ministry of Water Resources that “we have neither have concern nor objection if India diverts water of eastern rivers and supplies it to its people or uses it for other purposes staying within the ambit of IWT.” However, considering what India has since long been up to, a sense of uneasiness has followed the preliminary statement with cautionary addendum that “(But) we will definitely express our concerns and raise objections strongly if they use or divert waters of western rivers (Chenab, Indus, Jhelum) on which our right to use prevails.” Pakistan’s water problem has its basis in the very fact that the springheads of almost all the rivers that flow into Pakistan fall in the Indian territory. This geographical handicap has made Pakistan dependent on India unnecessarily, and by virtue of its traditional ill-will towards Pakistan, India continues to hurl threats of stopping or diverting its share of water every now and then. Especially, the tension on water issues has taken new heights since Narendra Modi took over Indian premiership in May 2014. In order to transform its political tirades into practical execution, India initiated construction of Kishanganga and Baglihar dams on river Jhelum and Ratle dam on river Chenab for power generation contrary to the provisions of IWT.To continue using water as a ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction’ (WMD), India has planned to not only construct dams on the rivers falling in Pakistan’s share but also redirect waters of rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej whose surplus spill-outs were earlier allowed to trickle down to Pakistan and thus helped save these river from complete extinction. The World Bank, being treaty’s sponsor, has so far miserably failed in both addressing the genuine concerns of Pakistan on the issue and stopping India from its evil designs in the shape of ‘water terrorism’, because it fearlessly went ahead with construction of dams on Jhelum and Chenab rivers. This speaks volumes for brazen neglect of the reservations raised by Pakistan as well as legal interpretations that bar construction of any IWT-related project without its prior dispute resolution. Regretfully, the WB seems convinced that Indian projects will not affect Pakistan. Contrarily, they do badly impact Pakistan being a lower riparian and a waterscarce country. Pragmatically, what Pakistan needs to realize on this World Water Day is the fact that without bearing a tough posture on the issue and fighting a diplomatic war at international forums for our legitimate rights on water share, the issue is not going to resolve. Rather, the more we are going to show restraint, the worse will become our water crisis in the coming days.Published in Daily Times, March 23rd 2019.