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Climate change and water scarcity

 

The temperatures in Pakistan broke all records in March 2010 and it support the argument that climate is changing due to global warming. Pakistan faced with poor governance is equally facing reduced river flows on its allocated three western rivers due to building of Hydro Electric Dams across the border, thus reduced power generation and scarcity of water for crops in Pakistan and massive load shedding.

It was Saturday the 3rd April, 2010 at Avari Tower, when Indian High Commissioner H.E. Sharat Sabharwal was invited as a Chief Guest along-with his team by Karachi Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank to deliberate on Indus water treaty, which is considered as inherent conflict between the two neighbours, due to building of Baglihar Dam followed by Kishanganga, Sawalkot, Pakuldul, Bursar, Dal Huste, Gyspa and many more on the drawing boards. Pakistan had expressed its reservation on these dams within the mechanism provided to resolve disputes in Indus water treaty and our media has rightly educated masses ventilating views from both sides of divide.

The Honourable High Commissioner who is soft and pleasant spoke with the help of slides, justifying position of his Government on the issue, like many liberal enlightened Indian Analyst of repute discarding genuine grievances and vulnerability of Pakistan as reported in media. India being upper riparian has all the options available to their discretion. After the deliberation there was interactive Q&A session and very searching questions were asked by Pakistani intellectuals, which were responded diplomatically with the typical mind set on the issue barring technical questions, which the High Commissioner avoided.

I, queried about the environmental pollution being caused by India due to burning of coal and fossil fuels as I reminded him that prior to Copenhagen a environment conference was held at Khatmandu where serious concerns were raised by Scientist that after US, India and China are the biggest polluters and noxious clouds are hovering on Tibetan plateau and catchments areas of our rivers, so is the issue of melting glaciers and changing weather pattern in South East Asia and rising sea temperatures.

I reminded him that Maldive is sinking, thus it is incumbent upon India to arrest the emissions and compensate the masses suffering due to massive industrialisation in India, and pumping of untreated sewerage in Arabian sea and Bay of Bengal disturbing the ecological balance and marine life. The answer was sweet, soft and brief that economic developments has a cost, so bear it

A very interesting article captioned "War or peace on Indus" by John Briscoe is a must read for those who wish to educate themselves on Indus water treaty. The writer has made independent analysis of the issue and has definitely presented Pakistan's case much better than our Government could. The writer has proposed conflict resolution and I feel that Indian and Pakistani both give due weight-age to the solution offered, enable resolve the issue based on dictum 'Aman Ki Asha'.

The water issue is a matter of life and death due to increasing population of Pakistan said to be 2.6% of GDP, thus more water will be needed. The major fear is global warming thus both countries must jointly work on conservation arresting seepage and management of water resources. We may jointly study the resolution of disputes on the pattern of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay as suggested by John in his write up, that India is driving the train, thus change may start in India.

The world masses pinned much of their hope on Copenhagen Summit after failure of signing and implementation of Koyoto protocol in 1997 but the two weeks of talks meant for "make and break of the planet, resulted in compromise political consensus that set no target for cutting emissions, however now we are looking forward for post consultative rounds one year from now in Mexcico where it is hoped that some targets may be fixed to save the planet and posterity both. I would strongly recommend that India and Pakistan must resolve the issues for the benefit of mankind on both sides of the divide. As a maritime professional, I can proudly acclaim that Shipping Industry, which moves 90% of World trade, yet accounts for just 2.7% total global CO2 emissions. It is the shore based people who as per IMO statistics are big polluters causing 92% of Marine pollution by pumping untreated sewerage into sea.

Let India and Pakistan may join hands in combating climate change, resolving issues on table related to Indus water treaty and respecting the rights of lower riparian for the sake of posterity and peace but peace only on all issues, as masses on both ends of divide are poverty stricken and can't afford the luxury of future conflicts. Let's learn to live as good neighbours and it will only be possible with mass contact.

The High Commissioner was feted along with his better half and his team to a sumptuous dinner at Karachi Boat Club on Sunday the 4th by Pakistan/India citizen forum and I must admit that he and his team are neither hawkish nor dove but remained firm on their policy without any aggressive posture. The High Commissioner has promised to visit Karachi in June again. I sincerely hope that ice may melt and India may release some water in Eastern rivers at least for drinking purposes to give a kick start towards building confidence.

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Global environment
SIDHARTH ZUTSHI

( First Secretary (P & I)

High Commission Of India )

(ISLAMABAD)

This refers to the item titled "Climate change and water scarcity," which appeared in Business Recorder on April 10, 2010. At the outset, we would like to express our deep appreciation for Captain Anwar Shah and many others who attended the function, organized by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations and Pakistan - India Citizens Friendship Forum on April 3, to listen to the Indian perspective on the Indus Waters Treaty.

We also appreciate Captain Shah's concern for preservation of global environment. In the course of the interactive session that followed the High Commissioner's speech, he did refer to the fact that developing countries could not forego the process of economic development, which was essential for the progress and well-being of their people.

This point was clearly spelt out by our Prime Minister in his speech at the Copenhagen Summit in December last year, when he said, "...it is clear that any agreement on climate change should respect the need for development and growth in developing countries. Equitable burden sharing should underlie any effective global climate change regime. Any new regime will have moral authority and credibility only if it acknowledges that every citizen of the globe has an equal entitlement to the global atmospheric space".

However, while making the above point, the High Commissioner also drew attention of the audience to India's elaborate National Action Plan on Climate Change, which relies entirely upon our own financial resources, and encompasses eight national missions, including missions for promotion of solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency and afforestation of six million hectares.

(Details of India's National Action Plan on Climate Change can be accessed it at http://pmindia.nic.in/climate_change_body.ht). The High Commissioner also pointed out that even while pursuing our objective of economic development, we had agreed to take on a voluntary target of reducing the emission intensity of our GDP growth by around 20% by 2020 in comparison to 2005. It is thus clear that India is making an active contribution towards the preservation of global environment.

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Dear Members
kindly note that submission of Nomination form has been extended till 9 May 2015, due to annual dinner event. Ensure that the Nomination form should reach MMSP office on or 9 May 2015.

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PAKISTAN MARINE ACADEMY IN DOLDRUM

If, we go into time Tunnel, the era from 2003-2007, efforts were made to convert Pakistan Marine Academy to Pakistan Maritime University, so that different faculties of Maritime education may be established locally.

 

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May 14, 2015

Executive Committee Meeting of Master Mariner Society of Pakistan will be held at 17.30 Hrs. at Room No 18, Old Ralli Brothers Building, Talpur Road, Karachi.

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