Stories about water shortage

Balochistan is thirsty for a drop of water – what will it take for Pakistan to notice?

It is no secret that Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, is facing a chronic water shortage issue and has been experiencing severe droughts for decades. Water is one of the basic necessities of life, fundamental for the existence of life to begin with, and without it we will all cease to exist. And yet the province is moving closer towards becoming a land without water. At least seven small and large rivers flow across Balochistan, from which the Hingol River (the longest river in the province) covers a length of 560 kilometres. Despite the flow of these seven rivers, Balochistan is in ...

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No water, no electricity, no education – When living in rural Sindh is worse than a death sentence

Martin Luther King once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”. This is the thought the residents of Tharparkar comfort themselves with every day. They console each other by hoping that after all their hardship will come some ease. Out of a small number of nine countries, Pakistan has succeeded in becoming a nuclear power. Who would have thought in a country with so much power, there would be so little for the common people? It is appalling to even think that the residents of rural Sindh still transport water with the help of donkeys. I often find ...

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Siksa Valley: Turning Gilgit-Baltistan’s barren lands into green miracles

I had never been past Khaplu in the Ganche District of Baltistan, a lovely green valley encircled by towering mountains. I had stayed a few times at the picturesque Khaplu Fort Palace Hotel, which has painstakingly been restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The Khaplu Fort Palace Hotel Hence, I was excited to actually drive past Khaplu and head further north towards our border area with India’s Ladakh region. This is a restricted area controlled by the Army and most tourists are turned back. Luckily, we had clearances as we were heading to a village ...

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The dam charity: Sorry, I can’t do more

As Pakistanis, we generally make headlines for all the wrong reasons these days, but there is one thing we can still be proud of. Despite having a shattered economy and prevalent poverty, we are one of the most charitable nations in the world. No one could have expected that this fact would one day work against the nation as well. Recently, the age-old issue of the construction of dams took the limelight once again, as Pakistan ranked third among countries facing water shortage. This alarming situation put every state institution on high alert, including the Supreme Court. Fed up with the ...

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PML-N’s new manifesto has more hits than misses, giving it an edge over PPP and PTI

It is the month of the General Elections, and all parties are busy in attempts to attract voters before the big day. Something that plays a major factor in whether voters are attracted to a political party or not is the election manifesto, as it gives the people an opportunity to become familiar with the vision and aims of political parties before they decide their vote. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has also unveiled its manifesto, and it seems quite a decent one, especially compared to the manifestos of the other leading political parties out there. PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif unveils the ...

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Why Kalabagh Dam is not the answer to our water woes

A few days back, my views on the futility of Kalabagh Dam published in a national daily evoked a very strong and hostile reaction from many people. I had posed a simple and pertinent question: “If, as is evident, Pakistan will have very little water in future, what will we fill Kalabagh Dam with?” Some people said Pakistan will have enough water forever, while others called me an enemy agent. Before delving deeper into why the dam should not be constructed, I would like to share my own experience of water consumption. Up until 10 years back, I had no idea how much ...

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Is #ZayaNaKaro enough to bring Pakistan’s conscience back to life and end wastage?

Though austerity is deep-rooted in the very fabric of our religion as Muslims, it’s ironic that a vast majority of Pakistanis seem oblivious to the notion. While on the quest of satisfying our whims, many of us have picked up the bad habit of squandering. Whether it is food, water, electricity or any other resource, we take their presence in our life for granted and use and abuse them as we please. This behaviour causes us to waste crucial resources that are already low for a significant number of people in the country. We have grown immune to the ...

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“Either the cement plants go, or we do”: The dry lands of Punjab’s future breadbasket

When the blue-green waters of the Katas Raj Hindu temple complex began to dry out last year, there was a furore in the media. Concern over the historical site brought the country’s attention (and the Supreme Court’s focus) to the plight of the local community’s dwindling groundwater resources. One of the most photographed sites in Pakistan, the Katas Raj Hindu temple’s pond is said to have been created from the teardrops of Shiva as he wandered the earth, inconsolable after the death of his wife Sati. For hundreds of years, Hindu pilgrims have bathed in this pond, whose plentiful ...

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You forced me to break the law, Qaim Ali Shah!

I’m not the kind of person who speeds through a red light, even if the drivers of vehicles behind me honk loudly enough to wake up the dead. I have a healthy respect for the law. So, when my son was deprived of his smart phone and 10 thousand rupees last month, I advised him to immediately report the crime to the police and the CPLC. He smiled indulgently, saying that once you go to the cops they will never let you rest in peace and you’ll have to pay them a handsome amount to stop hounding you. I don’t blame him. The cops in Karachi ...

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Eid in Gaza

Can you imagine how it feels to see a dear one killed in front of your eyes, knowing that it is supposedly a happy day, a festive day? How does it feel to lose a beloved on or right before Eid? I can’t even imagine the pain. Unfortunately, the feeling is not like a moment in a dream which simply vanishes during disrupted sleep. It’s far more permanent. Countless days of just this – either being killed or seeing your loved ones die. The recurring situation seems to have no end. While sitting on the stairs outside our house during a ...

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