Pakistan and India do not care about Kashmiris

Published: August 8, 2012
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Blame it on the indifference of political powers on both sides about Kashmir, not on the interest of Hafiz Saeed in Kashmir. DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH

Ejaz Haider, in his recent opinion piece in The Express Tribune entitled ‘Some realist advice for Hafiz Saeed’ raised many a points about conflict, water, Kashmir and India–Pakistan. I am no fan of Hafiz Saeed, nor in any way do I condone his acts, but some realism was missed in Mr Ejaz’s article.

“The Indus Waters Treaty has worked very well so far,” he states.

Worked well for whom, dare I ask? It may be working well for India and Pakistan but can the same be said about Kashmiris, the people who had the first right of use on these waters, a right which stands deprived for decades now?

The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) of 1960 gave almost exclusive rights on waters of the Punjab rivers Ravi, Sutlej and Beas to India, and Kashmir waters Chenab, Jhelum and Indus to Pakistan. Even though Jammu and Kashmir was already an internationally recognised dispute between India and Pakistan, its waters were traded off by India. Keeping in view the disputed nature of Kashmir, India should have allowed Pakistan to use and share the waters of Ravi, Sutlej and Beas instead of handing over to them rights over waters from a disputed Kashmir, on which both countries were already staking claim.

Under international law, Pakistan by virtue of being a lower riparian state had rights to water usage for all six rivers flowing into its territory (three of Punjab and three of Kashmir), even if we kept the dispute in temporary abeyance.

The mother of all ironies was that no Kashmiri leader or representative was involved or taken on board during the IWT (Punjab leaders were involved), while its waters were being traded off!  Even Sheikh Abdullah (in spite of all his pro India leanings) was in jail when the IWT was being put in place.

“India wants to deprive Pakistan of its water”

Such fears are not totally unfounded if we take into account how India in 1948 had stopped water flow to Pakistan resulting in colossal damage to crops. After this Pakistan was compelled it get into inter-dominion agreement followed by the IWT in 1960.

Could Pakistan, being part of the dispute,  agree to rights over waters of Kashmir in lieu for forfeiting rights over other rivers flowing into it?

Did Pakistan by signing the IWT, legally accept that India had a decision making ownership right over the resources of disputed Kashmir?

Since Pakistan signed the IWT with India and not Kashmir, does that mean that Pakistan accepted India’s claim of ‘Kashmir’s atoot ang’ (crown)?

If Kashmir was disputed, Pakistan should have treated it such with India in the IWT also.

Not only did the IWT dent Pakistan’s claim on this dispute but it infringed upon the rights of Kashmiris over their waters. With an estimated hydro-power potential of 20,000 MWs of which 16480 MWs have been identified, Kashmir continues to reel under perpetual darkness; its development is in limbo for the past six decades. And even of the 2318 MW (14% of potential exploited) the state owns only 758.7 MWs. The majority of this generation being controlled by Indian firm NHPC, known as ‘The East India Company’ in Kashmir, who has been accused of resource exploitation here.

Pakistan and India may be happy with the IWT but that is purely at the cost of robbing Kashmir.

Of course, nobody advocates that ‘a bullet and a bomb’ are going to give Kashmiris their due, but in a scenario where both India and Pakistan seem in no serious mood to resolve the Kashmir dispute, the Kashmiris can only get pushed to the extreme wall.

Talks of greater economic cooperation and Kashmir resolutions, have seen how a primitive barter system in the name of ‘cross LOC trade’ was sold to them as a Confidence Building Measure (CBM); a CBM that has been part hijacked by non local traders and part by the absence of any commerce trading channels. Blindfolded trade looks good on paper; in practice it forces a retreat.

Talk of people-to-people channels for resolving the Kashmir dispute and a limping LOC bus service were offered which faced more firewalls than collaborative efforts to make Trans-Kashmir travel easy. Families have been in wait for years now to have their papers processed while thousands of applications are still pending in process.

Whichever government comes into power in India or Pakistan and whatever place they may accord to this dispute on their priorities, Kashmir will continue to remain the pivotal barometer for gauging the Indo-Pak relationship. Unfortunately, whatever the circumstances, the Kashmiris will continue to strive for their rights.

When both sides try to slide Kashmir down their list of priorities (current Pakistan political dispensation having hurt the cause of Kashmir like nobody else did), it is only people like Hafiz Saeed who will grab centre stage.

Blame it on the indifference of political powers on both sides about Kashmir, not on the interest of Hafiz Saeed in Kashmir.

Read more by Saadut here

Saadut Hussain

Saadut Hussain

A blogger from Kashmir who blogs at saadut.blogspot.com.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • vik

    Pakistan have dropped Kashmir from the list as they want to please India.Kashmir is for India and will stay for everRecommend

  • Zahid Jan (Srinagar)

    IWT doesn’t hurt Kashmiris but bad deals Kashmir government signed with Indian power giant NHPC which gives only 12 per cent of power to the state and sends rest of it to Indian states. Issue is Indian media plus PDP and NC like pro-Indian parties are blowing the issue of of proportion aimed at creating fissures among Kashmiris that ‘Pakistan is taking all the water.”. Note down NHPC has all of its projects on those waters that flow down to Pakistan. What pro-Indian parties want more projects should be allowed on these rivers which means more barrages and hence decline of water level reaching to Pakistan. Those seeking remedy should note down that it’s not only about 1.2 Crore Kashmiris but over 21 million pakistani awaam to who need this water.
    The real story is here:
    http://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ne2700811Bad.aspRecommend

  • Zeeshan

    Saadut,

    Pakistan’s solidarity with Kashmir was not about water, never been about water and will not be about water. Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Zeeshan

    Now you have told us that the solidarity is not about water. Will you now tell us, it’s about what ? Recommend

  • Saadut

    Also read how IWT coupled with apathy and loot by India in Kashmir is robbing Kashmiri’s of their resources
    http://saadut.blogspot.in/2011/09/living-in-darkness.html Recommend

  • manish

    @Cynical:
    you and me both know it’s about land.
    you have got any doubt? atleast i don’t.Recommend

  • abhi

    I think it is not India or pakistan, it is kashmiri leaders who do not care for kashmiris. They are more concnerned about being called as prime minister rather than worrying about economic and social development of kashmir.Recommend

  • http://www.faysalm.co.nr Muhammad Faysal (Kashmiri)

    Pakistanis never wanted Kashmir for water. They have genuine sentiments towards the people of Kashmir. About the Governments, they have interests both of them. Water wars or not, the Kashmir puzzle needs to be solved according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir. So that this animosity and endless hate between three countries comes closer to the end. Insha allahRecommend

  • Salim

    What about Dams in POK………..i hope that there are no blackouts there……….going by u r logic Pakistani power companies must be called Timur the Lutara………..

    about the crown thing………..the writer fails to mention that Pakistanis claim that K word in Pakistan spelling stands for Kashmir(zabardasti)……….Also the thing about gilgit balistani as Pakistani………if kashmir is a dispute that gilgit balastanis are not Pakistani……..

    don’t give one sided arguments………….Recommend

  • G. Din

    “Under international law, Pakistan by virtue of being a lower riparian state had rights to water usage for all six rivers flowing into its territory (three of Punjab and three of Kashmir), even if we kept the dispute in temporary abeyance.”
    Which international law allocates such rights to a lower riparian? And, if there is such a law, what recourse does it have to enforce such a quaint law? Such assertions are demagogic to please your audience and have no value since they do not hold any water (pun intended) and cannot be substantiated.
    How do you reconcile your above assertion with the following assertion in the very dissertation you have referred to in your piece claiming India stopped water to Pakistan:“… India would have demanded more water since it is upper riparian state and all rivers originate from India.” Indus Water treaty refers to waters flowing in rivers, not man-constructed canals in East Punjab where waters were interrupted. I hope you understand the difference here!
    I hope you understand now why such an eminent jurist as Sir Zaffarullah Khan could not convince the UN about Pakistan’s claim to Kashmir? Muslim logic is so alien to generally accepted commonsense!
    Incidentally, “atoot ang” translates as “an integral part”, not “crown” as you would have us believe. Kashmir is, and shall remain, an “atoot ang” of India, no matter how much or how severely it may gall some!Recommend

  • Ali tanoli

    Brotherhood and justice Mr Cynical.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Felt very guilty and sad. Wished I was there when this extreme injustice to Kashmiris was being committed by Indians. So long as injustice exists, Sir Professor Dr Hafiz Saeed will continue to be the beloved and adored hero of Kashmiris and Pakistanis. Recommend

  • ichhi jee

    @Cynical
    Zeeshan is right, Pakistan’s solidarity with Kashmiris is not about water, it is about blood which is always thicker than water ! . . . . . Kashmir runs with our blood in our veinsRecommend

  • Raj

    @Zahid Jan (Srinagar): Why all the commodities in Kashmir are so cheap compared to rest of India. Coal in Kashmir is cheaper than in Bihar. Rice are cheaper in Kashmir than in Punjab, Haryana and Dehra Dun. Tea is cheaper in Kashmir than in Assam. Sugar is cheaper in Kashmir than in Gurgaon. You can not have both ways. If the referendum is held today even POK will love to join India again.Recommend

  • Rahul Koul

    @Raj:
    You must be dreaming ! The commodity price in Kashmir is 15 to 20 % greater than rest of Kashmir. But that is besides the point here. The fact is that India and Pakistan have held Kashmir hostage for their selfish interests. Kashmris don’t want to be with you, is that so hard to understand? Recommend

  • Amol

    Sir,
    If the Kashmir peoples were used their power of Ballots in Election on both sides and choose a proper Government for their future, then all the related issues are solved. Forget about the country India or Pakistan. After all there are elections on both J&K. But unfortunately the Kashmiries do not use the ballots, this is problems. If the Kashmiries determines to ignore act 370, The Kashmir will be Real State of Peace and actual Heaven. Why the Kashmiri peoples not thinks +ve for their futures? Recommend

  • Raw is War

    kashmir belongs to India.Recommend

  • Cry Me a River

    It’s always the attention seeking Kashmiri drama queens.To make it a bit clear @Saadut Indus and many of its tributaries flow through Ladakh…. how about the rights of Ladakhi people.
    Technically Indus doesn’t even enter Kashmir region and Chenab flows through Jammu region.The only river you can talk about is Jhelum.

    People of Jammu and Ladakh don’t share your thought process on any matter.

    Now don’t come running with the explanation that by Kashmiri’s you meant people of J&K because the people of Jammu think it as offensive when someone calls them Kashmiri.While the people of Ladakh are a different ball game altogether.Recommend

  • Rahul Koul

    @Cry Me a River:
    You surely missed some education dude. Indus travels from China via Leh and Kargil (Kargil is not Leh) but gets 80% of its water from Kashmir tributaries.
    Chenab is a part of Greater Kashmir (you may need to study history for that). Jammu (as of 1947) meant only 2 districts of Jammu city and some part of Udhampur. Chenab & Rajouri was never part of Jammu, but always part of Kashmir. The present day Jammu division was created after slicing Doda, Kistwar, Poonch and Reasi out of Kashmir, India played a demographic card here after occupying Kashmir.
    And about Ladakh, Kargil, Drass & Zanskar are a part of Ladakh but you only take Leh to be it. And Kargil & Drass dont want to be part of Leh dominated Ladakh. They align towards Kashmir because of historical connections. Recommend

  • SKChadha

    Saadut Hussain Bhai: Let me try once again. I hope now it will be published.
    One – J&K is not internationally recognized dispute. Indian Independence Act, 1947 (of UK) , Government of India Act, 1935 (of UK), Shimla Agreement (between India and Pakistan) and various resolutions of elected governments/ Assembly of J&K are clear on this issue.
    Two – In terms of J&K’s accession to India, foreign affairs are matters of Union of India, of course Irrigation is a State subject. IWT doesn’t prohibit irrigation of J&K from its rivers or for generation of electricity. The investor will demand its profits.
    Three – Nobody stops Pakistan to rescind IWT, India will be more than happy … :-)
    Four – Why not Pakistan is paying royalty to Kashmiri for Mangla and Diamer Bhasha Dam? It is Pakistan which is infringing over the rights of Kashmiri. Is it AZAD territory for them?
    Five – The assumption is incorrect that India wants to deprive Pakistan from its share of water. It is an established fact that Pakistan is miserably failed in management of its water resources.
    Six – You are right that Pakistan legally accepted that India has decision making ownership right over J&K’s foreign affair. India’s IWT is with Pakistan and not with PHK, GB or Aksai Chin.
    Seven – J&K is part of India. It is being developed and not exploited. J&K’s share in India’s resources is much higher than other states. The exploitation is of PHK by Pakistan through its unauthorized occupation.
    Eight – Brother, enough bullets and blood have been tried in the past but Jugular Vein could not be repaired! It’s time to try peace. I hope better sense will prevail.
    Nine – Kashmiri on both sides desire cross LOC trade should be increased. I request you to find out who is hindrance in it?
    Ten – Find out who is shielding Hafeez Saeed and at what cost to Pakistan? Recommend

  • Cry Me a River

    @Rahul Koul
    Thanks for the offer Mista Rahul Coal – The Educationist.

    The only thing I can offer you and all the thekedars of J&K after reading your rant is a YouTube link
    http://youtu.be/BrMGPvjPtM8Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Someone asked about the lower riparian law that entitles Paksitan to use the water and not India.

    Brother, it is a well-established international law (ref:Blassey Vs Govt of Peru, 1955, among others). It is part of the body of laws can the Natural Laws, like the Natural Justice Law that defines natural rights of citizens of a nation. Water has a natural tendency to flow down. You can’t deny it that freedom and claim the water for yourselves. Free the water. Free Kashmiris, Indians. Let them both go to Pakistan! Let justice be done.Recommend

  • G. Din

    @Zahid Jan (Srinagar):
    “What pro-Indian parties want more projects should be allowed on these rivers which means more barrages and hence decline of water level reaching to Pakistan. “
    I am not an apologist for “pro-Indian parties” but let me ask you how can barrages on these rivers (allocated for the use of Pakistan by IWT) cause “decline of water level reaching to Pakistan”, no matter how many are constructed over those rivers? India is allowed to construct only “run-of-the-river” dams on those rivers. This means all the water that flows in these rivers passes through the turbines to produce power. Turbines don’t consume any water. Some amount of water used for the consumption of the local populations is allowed under IWT. So, explain to us how there can be a “decline of water level reaching to Pakistan”? I suggest you talk to a qualified dam engineer about this and not to your local mullah, maulvi or mufti or maulana. It is precisely because of dealing with such senseless logic that Pakistan’s former IWT commissioner decided to resign rather than embarrass himself repeatedly while raising such baseless arguments before WB-appointed arbitrators. All cases Pakistan has taken to arbitration have been decided against it.
    You still have an option: suggest to Pakistan to opt out of the Indus Water Treaty. We will be happy if you can persuade them to do that.Recommend

  • amanat

    Without Kashmir Pakistan is incomplete. All rivers flow from Kashmir to Pakistan India has violated Sind Tas Treaty and has built dams over the rivers such as Chenab and Jhelum and has made Pakistani lands barren which cannot be tolerated at all. Pakistani rulers have closed their eyes from the reality and are making friendship with India and are importing various items from there which is not at all in the interest of Pakostan.Recommend

  • Hukumnama!

    @kaalchakra: Still not too late; please visit the Gentleman whom you have named he would you give a weapon and training, in the meantime we’ll be waiting for you across the LoC. Let us know if you’d like a full, semi or a single burst. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @ichhi jee: Kashmir runs with our blood in our veins

    You guys only know how to spill blood. You destroyed Afghanistan by trying to control it and continue to bleed it. You guys kill your own people in mosques, funerals and markets. Your Air Force drops bombs on its own citizens. 10,000 Bombs have been dropped on FATA region. Blood of 3 million people killed in Bangladesh is also on your heads. Every time ISI send terrorists into Kashmir or other states in India they make sure they kill substantial number of Indian Muslims are also killed, because you want to bleed India using Indian Muslims blood.

    Ten terrorists pretended to be Hindus who attacked Bombay on 26/11 killed 40 Indian Muslims and 132 non-Muslims (including 6 Americans) countries that has been feeding you for so many years. Recommend

  • Amol

    Dear all,
    Is there any sense, that flow of river define the border of nation? If yes, Why India not claims on Tibet because river Bramhputra, Sutlaj, Indus comes to India through Tibet. And also major Indian rivers flows down through Bangladesh. Because of there is no sense or logic for flowing of rivers with nation’s border, there are some agreements in between nations. Nations must respects each other. So dear Paki brother don’t misguide the innocent Kashmiri brothers. And go back from POK. Don’t fight yourself in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan. Look towards EU. South Asia a large populations and no Golds in Olympics. Shame.
    Basicaly we have one blood, one DNA, So show the world we are not nonsense fighter, we are proper human.
    And in the matter of Kashmir Pakistan breech the Stand Still Agreement with Kashmir. I think If this not happened there is no conflict, Should you think like me? Every person thinks like this who knows about Kashmir, because this is fact.
    So brother correct our mistakes(past) for our peoples. Jai Hind. . .Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    kaalchakra :
    “Free the water. Free Kashmiris, Indians. Let them both go to Pakistan! Let justice be done.”

    The water flowed freely in 2010 and 2011. What happened??? deluge and flooding in Sindh. You couldnt manage and starting begging on this count as well.
    Take all the kashmiris who want to come along with you to Pakistan. Just announce a “Open Green(literally) Card” to Kashmiris and let them go if they want to. India is not stopping them. Just leave Kashmir as fast as u can so that the remaining can live in peace.Recommend

  • observer

    @Author

    Such fears are not totally unfounded if we take into account how India in 1948 had stopped water flow to Pakistan resulting in colossal damage to crops.

    How did India achieve this stupendous feat? As there were no Dams and Barrages to speak of, did Mr Nehru simply ask the rivers to stop flowing into Pakistan?

    Can you substantiate this with some independent verifiable source? Or do we just take your word for it?Recommend

  • G. Din

    @observer:
    “How did India achieve this stupendous feat? As there were no Dams and Barrages to speak of, did Mr Nehru simply ask the rivers to stop flowing into Pakistan?”
    Even if there had been dams and barrages, they are not meant to stop waters of mighty rivers to flow! They can, at best, help divert waters but there have to be scores of Rajasthan canals to take that flow. But, where? All this thinking is insane! And, to think that such supposedly intelligent men such as a blogger would make such fantastic claims without thinking!
    Suffice it to say, India paid, and continues to do so, a huge price for so-called Nehru’s stewardship. Everything he touched is still with us as a wet rag around our neck, choking us, seemingly impossible to shake off!Recommend

  • observer

    @Author

    According to the link provided by you, water was stopped in just 2 canals for the Month of April in 1948.

    1 Apr 1948 Without new agreement, India discontinues delivery of water to Dipalpur Canal and main branches of Upper Bari Daab Canal.
    30 Apr 1948 India resumes water delivery as negotiations undertaken.

    http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/research/casestudies/IndusNew.htm

    Now, everyone in Pakistan knows that in April Wheat is ready for harvesting and if anything farmers pray for a dry spell as moisture may damage the wheat crop.

    In the above context would you like to explain your statement, “India in 1948 had stopped water flow to Pakistan resulting in colossal damage to crops.”Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    How can one talk of Kashmir without talking of partition itself?Recommend