Rising concerns of Pakistan

A Waseem Khattak

Afghanistan in collaboration with India is planning a daunting project that involves blocking the water of Kabul River by utilizing the services of Indian engineers and other technical professionals. This initiative will severely impact regions in Pakistan like Charsadda, Swabi, Nowshera, and Mardan – which heavily rely on Kabul River for agriculture and water resources.

It is very distressing that Afghanistan seems oblivious to the concerns of Pakistani Pashtuns, who, despite affiliations with political parties like PTM and PTI, remain steadfast in advocating for Afghanistan’s rights against any injustices from Pakistan.

So now, where are the voices of liberal individuals in Pakistan who idealize Afghanistan as a heaven for Pakistani Pashtuns? It seems that Afghanistan perceives Pakistan as unwilling to properly address the current situation.

To inform Afghanistan, Chitral district is the starting point of Kabul River, entering Afghanistan and forming a river bend after reaching Mohmand district, eventually re-entering Pakistan in Mardan district. Fortunately, Pakistan has expertise in redirecting the rivers, exemplified by the Neelum-Jhelum project – where a tunnel diverts the Neelum River into Jhelum River over a distance of 33 kilometers.

Therefore, Afghanistan should reconsider its strategy on immediate basis as India exploits the Afghan territory against the interests of Pakistan, and Afghanistan must realize that Pakistan is not willing to back down in the face of water-related challenges at any cost.

Similarly, both India and Afghanistan – the neighboring countries of Pakistan, have joined forces against Pakistan by utilizing water aggression as a tool to weaken the Pakistani nation. This tactic has historical precedence with India, and now Afghanistan is following it.

It is to be noted here that the recent agreements between Afghanistan and India on the completion of 12 dams along the Kabul River signify a joint effort to harness water resources, echoing India’s previous actions in western Afghanistan.

Moreover, Iran is also affected by Afghan water aggression, especially concerning the Helmand River – vital for both Iran and Afghanistan. However, conflicting attitudes from the Afghanistan’s government have turned this into a contentious issue at large.

Will the Afghan Taliban, now in power, choose positive collaboration over creating terrorism and water-related issues for neighboring countries? The international community hopes for a shift towards a constructive, solid, and problem-solving policy rather than adherence to old and outdated principles of animosity and defiance.

The writer is the head of the Department of Journalism, Women University Swabi. He can be reached at: awaseemkhattak@gmail.com. He also shares insights on Twitter @awaseemkhattak.

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