Pakistan approves its first national water policy

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, center, along with four Chief Ministers signed the “Pakistan Water Charter” pledging commitment to the National Water Policy. (Photo courtesy: PID)
Updated 26 April 2018

Pakistan approves its first national water policy

  • The implementation of National Water Policy (NWP) will be undertaken through a national level body
  • NWP includes the water uses and allocation of priorities and a board framework about country water needs

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s four provincial chief ministers unanimously approved the country’s first National Water Policy (NWP) this week at a Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting this week.

The agreement was reached as the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired the 37th CCI meeting at Prime Minister’s Office on April 24.

The policy was drawn up following consultation with all major stakeholders and a national level consultative seminar was also held to reach a consensus.

Chief Minister Punjab Mohammed Shehbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo attended the meeting along with federal ministers and senior officials.

Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of Pakistan Sartaj Aziz briefed the CCI on draft National Water Policy (NWP) of Pakistan.

NWP includes the water uses and allocation of priorities, integrated planning for development and use of water resources, environmental integrity of the basin, impact of climate change, transboundary water sharing, irrigated and rain-fed agriculture, drinking water and sanitation, hydropower, industry, ground water, water rights and obligations, sustainable water infrastructure, water-related hazards, quality management, awareness and research, conservation measures, legal framework and capacity building of water sector institutions.

The PM’s office said: “The CCI was briefed that implementation of NWP will be undertaken through the National Water Council (NWC) to be chaired by the Prime Minister and comprising of federal ministers for water resources, finance, power, planning development and reforms with all provincial Chief Ministers as members.

“The NWC shall oversee the implementation of NWP and a steering committee, headed by the federal minister for water resources, will monitor the implementation with representatives from federal and provincial governments and concerned departments,” Prime Minister Office said in statement.


India reimposes movement curbs on parts of Kashmir’s main city after clashes

Updated 18 August 2019

India reimposes movement curbs on parts of Kashmir’s main city after clashes

  • There were violent overnight clashes between residents and police in which dozens were injured
  • India has been fighting a revolt in which at least 50,000 people have been killed

SRINAGAR: Indian authorities reimposed restrictions on movement in major parts of Kashmir’s biggest city, Srinagar, on Sunday after violent overnight clashes between residents and police in which dozens were injured, two senior officials and eyewitnesses said.
In the past 24 hours, there has been a series of protests against New Delhi’s Aug. 5 revocation of the region’s autonomy. This followed an easing in curbs on movement on Saturday morning.
The state government has said that it has not imposed a curfew over the past two weeks, but on Sunday people were being turned back at multiple roadblocks set up in the city in the past few hours. Security forces at some roadblocks have told residents there is a curfew.
Two senior government officials told Reuters that at least two dozen people were admitted to hospitals with pellet injuries after violent clashes broke out in the old city on Saturday night.
Representatives in the Jammu and Kashmir government in Srinagar and the federal government in New Delhi did not immediately return calls asking about the latest clampdown or seeking an assessment of the number of injuries and clashes.
One of the official sources said that people pelted security forces with stones in around two dozen places across Srinagar. He said that the intensity of the stone pelting protests has increased over past few days.
The heavy overnight clashes took place mostly in Rainawari, Nowhetta and Gojwara areas of the old city where Indian troops fired tear smoke, chilly grenades and pellets to disperse protesters, eyewitnesses and officials said.
Chilly grenades contain very spicy chili pepper, and produce a major eye and skin irritant, as well as a pungent smell, when they are unleashed.
The officials, who declined to be identified because they aren’t supposed to talk to the media, said clashes also took place in other parts of the city including Soura, a hotbed of protests in the past two weeks.
A senior government official and hospital authorities at Srinagar’s main hospital said that at least 17 people came there with pellet injuries. They said 12 were discharged while five with grievous injuries were admitted.
The hospital officials and a police officer told Reuters that a 65-year-old man, Mohammad Ayub of Braripora, was admitted to the hospital after he had major breathing difficulties when tear gas and chilly grenades were fired in old city area on Saturday afternoon. He died in the hospital on Saturday night and has already been buried, they said.
Javed Ahmad, age 35 and from the wealthy Rajbagh area of Srinagar, was prevented from going to the old city early Sunday morning by paramilitary police at a barricade near the city center. “I had to visit my parents there. Troops had blocked the road with concertina wire. They asked me to go back as there was curfew in the area,” he said.
Telephone landlines were restored in parts of the city on Saturday after a 12-day blackout and the state government said most telephone exchanges in the region would start working by Sunday evening. Internet and cell phones remain blocked in Kashmir.
More than 500 political or community leaders and activists remained in detention, and some have been flown to prisons outside the state.
For 30 years in the part of Kashmir that it controls, India has been fighting a revolt in which at least 50,000 people have been killed. Critics say the decision to revoke autonomy will cause further alienation and fuel the armed resistance.
The change will allow non-residents to buy property in Jammu and Kashmir, and end the practice of reserving state government jobs for local residents.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has said the measure is necessary to integrate Kashmir fully into India and speed up its development.