By: Hari Sud
June 12, 2006
expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
is at the bottom.
Pakistanis will fight between themselves over water resources and then
blame India for their problems. An already an impoverished nation by 2020
with no social, rural and urban development, but in possession of first
class military will divert national attention from internal water disputes
to a fight with India. Four Pakistani provinces are fighting over Kalabagh,
Basha and host of other water & power management dams. Slowly the blame is
being shifted to India. The political, military and religious leadership
has already started to tell the nation that India is interfering with
their water resources. They quote Baglihar & Wullar dams to back their
claims. These claims are untrue, but who is listening. Local populace is
being told that that Pakistan has the military muscles to beat India and
grab all the water resources from it. Thirsty people will listen to any
propaganda. In fact they are being readied for a war. Its beginning was
made a few years back when an ugly fight engulfed the Pakistani provinces
over fair share of water in Indus, Jhelum & Kabul rivers. Since then every
summer, Province of Sindh and Pakistani Punjab fight over water. Usually
Pakistani Punjab with larger resources and control over water flow wins,
leaving Sindhis seething with anger. The central military leadership calms
people’s nerves by raising issues like Baglihar, Wullar with India.
Fortunately India is not interested in their internal fight but watches
the fun as it unfolds. India’s interest is not to let Pakistan’s military
rulers internationalize their internal disputes with false claims of
misuse of provisions of Indus Water Treaty by India. So far the success
for India has been mediocre. Baglihar issue is with the World Bank. India
has already decided to modify the design of the Wullar dam to make it into
a run of the river power generation project. It is all intended to keep
the Pakistani disputes spilling over into India.
Why is Pakistan So Thirsty for Water?
Primarily Pakistan is a successful agrarian society. Punjab province of
Pakistan has been blessed with 30 feet of topsoil and a host of rivers to
irrigate it. Even the Alexander’s historian recorded it 325BC that the
land they conquered is lush green and very fertile. Earlier the Greek
historian Herodotus in fifth century BC had recorded fine Indian wool,
which is grown in the fields. He was referring to cotton. Prior to that
the Western world had not known about cotton. Additionally five rivers
flowing in Punjab with snow fed sources and monsoon rains kept the
agriculture progressive. Kings of yesteryears and all conquers whom came
down the Khyber Pass did not interfere with the agriculture. They instead
exploited it. British were the last to exploit it further from 1875
onwards. They built water works and irrigated fresh land. They settled ex
servicemen (mostly Punjabi Mussalman) in this newly developed lands.
Agriculture in and around Chenab and beyond to Indus progressed, making
this Doab a very progressive land. Partition in 1947 resulted in all of
this land being handed over to Pakistan, with Indian Punjab left as an
orphaned child with no resources.
Pakistan wasted all this good fortune on strong military and extra
territorial ambitions in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Both of these
misadventures are proving costly. With agriculture at stand still and huge
drain of resources on military, water management received little or no
attention. Not until in last ten years, when Sindh province started to
complain about lack of water and blamed it on Pakistani Punjab. Then only
a bit of attention was turned towards water resources and their
exploitation. New studies have indicated that growing population (300
million by 2020) in Pakistan need water resources to feed them and house
them. This will require additional 25 Million-Acre Feet (MAF) of water by
2020. That means, new dam construction has to be initiated on priority.
New mega projects like Kalabagh & Basha will partly relieve the shortage.
Each of these with 7 MAF capacities on Indus will partly relive the
shortage. Other smaller dams will add only 20% additional capacity to the
shortage. Hence Pakistan, even after feverish water resources building
activity in next 10 years, Pakistan will be 10 MAF water short. If you
take into account silting of the dam sites, which is a serious problem in
snow fed rivers just emerging out of the mountains, the situation is
likely to worsen the situation further. Silting has depleted the storage
capacity of Mangla Dam (built in 1967) and Tarbrela Dam (built in 1975) by
20% already. By 2020, additional 30% of the storage capacity will be lost
to silting. Taking these factors into account the net shortage in next 15
years will be as much as 15 to 18 MAF even if the forgoing mega dams are
How do you make up for the above shortage?
The answer for Pakistan is to pick-up a fight with India, its immediate
neighbor to the east. Also internationalize the issue where world gets
scared of a nuclear war and advises caution to India (India being the big
economy by then would be advised to accommodate Pakistan). This scenario
is a distinct possibility. It is happening in Siachin & Sir Creek today.
Very cleverly manipulated Western media propaganda is advising India to
vacate Siachin and Sir Creek. They call them wastelands. Their argument is
that fight over these two is meaningless. Advice to India is that in both
these disputes India should accommodate Pakistan. This pressure is likely
to increase. A lot of future FDI to India and other aid will be tied to
the so-called “South Asian Stability”. It is clever way of putting
pressure on India.
How Much River Water Pakistan has?
Pakistan has unlimited amount of river & rainwater, except that they do
not know how to exploit it. Yearly water flow in Indus alone is about 170
MAF. Rivers Jhelum & Chenab carry about a quarter of that amount. Hence
Pakistan has about 300 MAF of water flowing down the rivers. This does not
include tremendous amount of water, which comes down with Monsoon
downpour. Indus has about ten times more water than Colorado River in US
and three times more water than Nile in Egypt. Anybody with that amount of
water in the rivers should be awash with water. What is missing is will to
do anything worthwhile to manage water resources. Successive military
governments are to be blamed. Most monies are appropriated to build up the
military. Monies for economic projects are always in short supply. Hence
these projects are lower on priority. For example, with looming water
shortage, the Kalabagh Dam is still stuck in a controversy. The missing
element is the unfair water distribution policy. Leaders favor Pakistani
Punjab as it has more muscle in the military and at the central
government. This leaves other provinces angry, annoyed and ready to
revolt. For the military rulers it is easy to raise the bogey of India
stealing water to incense the public. India’s plan to build hydroelectric
projects on rivers allocated to Pakistan in Kashmir is big news in
Pakistan. The leaders know fully well that the Indus Water Treaty clearly
gives India right to use the Rivers Indus, Jhelum & Chenab to generate
electricity and draw water for personal use. They ignore that part. They
also know that every electricity generation project requires significant
water storage so that electricity generation could continue uninterrupted
during the lean months. The same right is given to Pakistan. It is that
right that has become of dispute.
The Unfolding War Like Scenario in 2020
In the years 2018 to 2020, there is a complete failure of Monsoons. India
is parched and so is Pakistan. Indian economy for the past 40 years had
been built to be independent of Monsoon vagaries of centuries. On the
other hand Pakistani economy is still agrarian. Disputes, which India had
settled 15 years back (World Bank in 2006 - Baglihar & Wullar) are blamed
for failure of the Rabi crop in Pakistani Punjab. People are inflamed by
the official propaganda which links crop failure to Baglihar and Wullar.
Although according to their own admission, drop in flow in Chenab & Jhelum
with these projects is minuscule, yet it is enough to set events in motion
which in next three weeks become uncontrollable. In Pakistan there is a
demand that Natural Gas flow to India from both Iran-India and
Turkmenistan-India pipeline be shutdown. Which the military government in
2020 duly complies? Hence an act of war against India has been committed.
Already parched India, suffers more with this unnecessary shutdown. No
amount of persuasion by India or the international community is able to
change Pakistan’s mind. Pakistan sticks to its policies, because they have
nuclear bombs and missiles to deliver them. The international community is
double minded. They neither wish to alienate Pakistan completely nor they
want a nuclear war hence take a middle of the road approach. They advise
India to stop power generation activities in all rivers passing through
Kashmir. This advice, in fact if heeded, will be a complete surrender.
International community lead by US & UK wants India to avoid a nuclear
war. Additional economic pressure is put on India with the flight of money
from the Indian stock market. This results in a stock market crash in
Mumbai. Millions loose their life savings. Now people in India demand
action to open the gas flow and also prevent flight of the capital. India
decides to temporarily ban remittance abroad. This alienates the
international community. India assures them that it is temporary measure.
In a series of very clever moves, Indian Army moves closer to the border
undetected. Indians over two-dozen years have developed techniques and
methods to beat the US surveillance system. Pakistani army knows the moves
well in advance but these moves are so confusing to their analysts that
they are unable to figure out their objective. In short duration, Indian
Army is posed to strike at a two hours notice and cut Pakistan into two
halves. India also orders arming of their nuclear warheads and moves these
missiles closer to their position of launch. Pakistan has already taken
those steps. Not only Indian missiles are ready to go for the retaliatory
strike, India has ordered two its nuclear submarines armed with nuclear
missiles to the Arabian Sea. Indian Naval Fleet waits patiently for
Pakistanis to make a move. Pakistanis have long planned and practiced
operations to destroy Indian refinery complexes in Jamnangar and Mumbai.
At the on set of hostilities these will be Pakistan’s primary objectives.
Indian naval fleet and the Air Force are there to frustrate these
attempts. Two of Pakistani submarines are lurking near Bombay High Oil &
Gas Structure. They have been spotted and are being followed. The military
rulers in Pakistan realizing that how quickly India could blockade Karachi
and Gawadar ports have ordered all their merchant shipping to wait being
escorted by the Pakistani Navy. This action depletes Pakistani naval punch
and offers India a chance to deal a deadly blow to Pakistan at sea.
US and Europe is watching these moves impatiently. They are having
high-level conferences internally and are in constant communication with
both India and Pakistan. Finally Chief of the US Central Command arrives
in Rawalpindi and Chief of the US Pacific Command arrives in New Delhi.
Both have orders to coolly let each of the hosts know, the cost of war, if
Each of these two US generals briefs the respective host government on
what US thinks level of destruction the adversary will impose upon them.
Each told his host what is likely to happen in first 15 days of war:
• Cost of Hostilities to India
1. Pakistan with ease will knock out Jamnagar refinery complex and Bomb
Mumbai and possibly, Tromway nuclear research station.
2. Bombay High Oil & Gas Platform could be damaged beyond repairs.
3. 20% of Indian Air Force planes could be knocked out of the sky.
4. Pakistanis could achieve a breakthrough to reach Akhnoor to cut off
Kashmir from Rest of India. After all they have been practicing it for the
last 30 years.
5. Pakistan could try and sneak into India via Khemkaran depression to
reach Jullundhar Bridge. They failed in 1965 and this time they will give
it another try.
6. All economic and military installation within the Chinese made bomber’s
range along the India-Pakistan could be subjected to precision bombing.
7. Terror strikes on economic and religious institutions in India is a big
In short a tremendous damage within first 4 days of the start of
hostilities will be inflicted on India, because Pakistanis have the
• Cost of Hostilities to Pakistan
1. Overconfident Pakistanis were told that their nuclear facility at
Chasma & Kahuta could be precision bombed into Stone Age. This is in
return for bombing of Tromway by them.
2. Karachi port could suffer the repeat destruction similar to 1971. This
time every possible site within port trust will be bombed to render it
useless for a long time.
3. Two of Pakistani Submarines and a host of naval vessels defending
Karachi could be sunk in naval engagements on high seas.
4. Indian AWACS aided Air Force will cut a swath of destruction for the
Pakistani Air Force. Pakistani best jet fighters and senior pilots could
be dead within first four days of start of hostilities. Remaining lower
end Pakistani planes dare not engage the marauding Indian Air Force. Need
to bomb, hardened silos at Sargodha & Rawalpindi airports by India was
found unnecessary as Pakistani Air Force is no longer flying combat
5. A heavy concentration of Pakistani troops opposite Indian Amritsar in
Lahore area is cut to pieces to eliminate any possible threat to the
Indian holy city. India also threatens similar action on Pakistani column
in Akhnoor. This stops them dead in their tracks. They do not wish to be
annihilated. Again lack of air support hampered Pakistani operation.
6. The most humiliating part of Pakistani defeat lay in the Rajasthan
desert. Indian Army in quick moves could reach Pakistani city of Multan on
the10th day of war and cut Pakistan into two halves. This they had
practiced for the last 20 years. This time they could successfully
7. With Pakistani military in disarray, rebels in Balochistan, Waziristan,
Gilgit & Hunza could raise the flag of independence.
• Nuclear Scenario
Internal discussions began in Pakistani Capital of Rawalpindi for a
befitting response to all Indian actions. Pakistan has lost half of its
military punch and big loss of face in front of its people. Now nuclear
remained the last option. Orders to ready this option were given. Chinese
friends tried hard to persuade the Pakistanis to relent. Even the
peacemakers in UK and US told the Pakistanis not to pursue nuclear option.
They told them that if they unleashed the nuclear weapons, international
community will be forced to intervene on behalf of rest of the humanity to
prevent the nuclear holocaust and its after affects. They also told them
that the Indian Anti Missile shield could block off half of their
missiles. Remaining half will fall on unimportant targets, where damage
will be great but no strategic defeat on India will be forced. In return
the sea born India’s nuclear weapons would kill almost everything in
southern Pakistan. Overland Indian missiles would obliterate every
possible military, economic and civil target in Pakistan. In fact,
Pakistan as a state may cease to exist. They also told the Pakistanis that
they (Pakistanis) will have no second strike option, because Indians with
their retaliatory first strike will obliterate every possible Pakistani
nuclear site, rendering left over nuclear weapons either unserviceable or
completely destroyed. Also, immediate assistance from the rest of the
world would be impossible, as nuclear fallout will scare away anybody who
may wish to help. The Muslim nations all over the world could find
themselves unable to help as the fast pace of events took them by a
surprise. Also India is a friend and did not initiate this conflict. They
could only offer moral support and prayers. Chinese with massive economic
relations with India could offer only lip service and minor military
support to Pakistan. Indian decision not to attack Gawadar port and
Karokaram Highway prevented direct Chinese intervention.
This frank advice from two very senior US generals to India & Pakistan
knocked sense into both. The latter relented immediately by opening the
Gas flow to India. Suddenly the martial music both on Pakistani & Indian
airwaves ceased. Armies on both sides heaved a sigh a relief. So did the
rest of the world. There was a talk of meeting between Indian Prime
Minister & Pakistani military ruler. The net achievement of this crisis
was zero. Public in Pakistan wished for a change of government. They felt
being betrayed by the leaders. They had assumed that they had to go next
door and grab all the water they wished. Suddenly they found themselves as
parched as before and with a loss of face. On top of that there was a huge
expenditure on troop movements, which they could hardly afford.
From Indian point of view Pakistanis were lucky again. US intervened to
save them from a certain defeat and destruction. Again for India, economic
damage by ruthless Pakistani bombing was saved. Stock market restored
itself to pre-war position.
The above Scenario, although Imaginary is a Distinct Possibility
The above scenario is completely imaginary but is a possibility. The irony
is that minor disputes during economic hardship lead to war. Water
disputes are not uncommon. Europe had it for the last 500 years. US
overcame them by fairly distributing the benefits of water and power
projects. India & Pakistan can also distribute the benefits of Himalayan
water drainage system very fairly. This is possible, if Pakistan dumps its
military-mullah leadership and becomes a good neighbor. With reduced
military expenditure pressure in Pakistan, monies could be transferred to
economic management of the country. Managing water resources should be of
utmost importance to them. Major dams like Kalabagh & Basha could be
completed in next 10 years. That will relive half of the shortage of
water. Other half is to be met with local storage of surplus Monsoon
rainwater. All these schemes are not new to the Pakistani engineers but
these have not been implemented because funds do not exist. Financial
institutions like World Bank, Asia Bank, IDA are ready to help. For that
to happen, Pakistan has to change its mindset. In addition small water
disputes, which are not material (like Baglihar or Wullar), are not to be
internationalized. Nor these disputes are to be used as political tool to
A war over water rights between India and Pakistan is a distinct
possibility in next 15 to 20 years. To this extent Pakistan is already
pumping up its propaganda machinery to blame legal Indian hydroelectric
projects upstream on rivers in Kashmir. It is true that water flows from
India to Pakistan. But India has declared that they will not draw any
water out of these rivers but only generate electricity and let it go “as
is” to Pakistan. One fails to see the Pakistani point in opposing India’s
economic moves. They have to learn from Europe and US, where water rights
are amicably managed and benefits shared.
Alternative scenario of war is bad for Pakistan. It will loose all its
cards if it fights India, which by then is a major economic power.
Pakistanis cannot depend upon UK and US to save them, if going gets tough.
Because privately they have been mad at them for harboring terrorists.
Chinese are less likely to help in a crisis, because they are better
businessmen than warmongers. They do not wish to jeopardize $200 Billion
trade between India & China, which is likely the case in next 15 years.
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