Home Contact Us  

Pakistan - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#3253, 6 October 2010
Indus Waters Governance-VI: Political Consensus vs Provincial Legislations
D Suba Chandran
Deputy Director, IPCS
email: subachandran@gmail.com

The Provincial Assembly of Punjab in Pakistan passed a resolution in October 2010 recommending the federal government to build the controversial Kalabagh dam. According to the resolution, tabled by Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, the Leader of Opposition, “This house (Provincial Assembly of Punjab) recommends to the federal government that as experts say that the Kalabagh dam is feasible and beneficial for entire Pakistan, therefore, it should start its efforts for developing a consensus among all the four provinces for its earliest construction.” (Dawn, 6 October 2010)

There have been numerous other resolutions passed by the Provincial Assemblies of Sindh, Balochistan and the NWFP in Pakistan, relating to the sharing of Indus Waters. In India, the J&K Legislative Assembly has passed a resolution demanding the scrapping of the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan. While every provincial legislative assembly has the right to protect its own interest and pass resolutions, will such an approach lead to resolving the water crisis between the various stakeholders and improve the water governance? Or should there be a political consensus, following a societal consensus on sharing waters amongst the stakeholders?

While the above mentioned resolution is related to the construction of Kalabagh dam, the problem is actually relating to the sharing of Indus waters between various provinces within Pakistan. Construction of Kalabagh dam and its opposition is only an expression of a deeper misunderstanding. 

The Provincial Assembly of Sindh, since 1994 has passed a series of resolutions against the construction of Kalabagh dam and the Greater Thal Canal. The latest was during June 2010, when all the members of the Sindh Provincial Assembly passed a unanimous resolution, rejecting the construction of the Kalabagh dam. When the resolution was about to be tabled by one of its ministers in the Provincial Assembly, the MQM suggested that it should be moved by every member present in the house,(Daily Times, 17 June 2010) including the PPP, MQM and PML-F, thus projecting a common stand cutting across the party lines. 

The unanimous resolution in Sindh Provincial Assembly against the construction of Kalabagh dam, followed an acrimonious debate in the national parliament, where a suggestion to construct the dam was opposed by members from the smaller provinces. (Dawn, 16 June 2010) While the PML-N and PML-Q in the Parliament, cutting across their party lines, came together in demanding the construction of the dam, PPP, ANP and MQM came together against the dam, cutting across both provincial and party lines. In fact, the pro-dam section consider the opposition to the project as being “anti-national”, those who oppose the dam consider the project as the negation of democracy and federal structure of the country.

Within India, in 2002, there was a heated debate in the J&K Legislative Assembly on the Indus Waters Treaty; cutting across the partly lines, the members called for the scrapping of the treaty. Tarigami, a CPM legislator, was quoted saying, “We are suffering because of Pakistan's water needs. Fine, compensate us for what we have lost. And if you cannot do that, review the situation. After all, people make laws.” (Praveen Swami, “A Treaty Questioned,” Frontline, 10 May 2002)

Undoubtedly, Legislative Assemblies and Parliaments are ideal forums to discuss issues of importance; every legislature has the right to pass acts and resolutions. Especially, if there is unanimity within the legislature, such an initiative and its outcome should be considered as of high importance and utility. But on the water issue, is it prudent to pursue such a course of action?

While the legislatures are legally correct in pursing such an option, it would be useful to generate a debate at the societal level and reach a political consensus outside the Provincial Assemblies and Parliaments. Legislative resolutions, passed without political consensus create a negative impact at the societal levels; it also encourages the hard liners to use such resolutions to create hysteria, thereby undermining any political consensus. In terms of sharing waters or building dams, a legislative resolution, even in advisory nature is perceived as a legal document, with negative consequences.

It would be useful and prudent to avoid water debates in the legislatures. Instead the various stakeholders should be allowed to meet at the Track-II level, between the provinces and between states. (See “Indus Waters Governance V: One River, Three Dialogues,”) It is imperative to create a societal consensus outside the legislature; given the vertical divide on provincial lines within the legislatures on water issues, such a course will only complicate the problem. 

On water issues, the legislatures should attempt to build a consensus outside, and pass a resolution based on it, instead of moving a resolution first and trying to create a consensus for the same.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Will the Genie Want to Go Back?

The Fall of Rajapaksa: Why Democracies Fail Strongmen

Pakistan: The Military Courts

From Kashmir to Kabul

A Fractured Mandate: The Big Picture

And Now, They Are Coming For Our Children

Pak-Afghan Reset: Will the Taliban and al Qaeda follow?

Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues

Rise India, avoid regional pitfalls

Foreign Fighters of Pakistan: Why Pashtuns and Punjabis?

Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?

The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping: Strong Leaders, Hard Issues

Pakistan: The Coup that didn’t take

Pakistan: Crouching Democrats, Hidden Khakis

Processes at the cost of peace?

Cost of Peace

Rise of Democratic Anarchists

Don’t steal the election now

Mullah Fazlullah: Challenges to the “Eliminate or Extradite” Approach

The Tahirul Qadri Affair

Dhaka as the Gateway to India’s Look East Policy

Modi, Sharif and the Cross-LoC Interactions

Region by Sub-regions

Civil-Military Equations in Pakistan: Que Sera Sera

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February  March
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.