Home / Current Affairs / Speech of the President of Pakistan on the Occasion of Two-Day International Symposium on “Creating A Water-Secure Pakistan”

Speech of the President of Pakistan on the Occasion of Two-Day International Symposium on “Creating A Water-Secure Pakistan”

The Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan;
Honourable Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts;
Foreign Minister, Federal Minister for Water,
Secretary Water Resources and Chairman WAPDA,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentleman,
Assalam-o-Alaikum !
Hazrat Abdullah ibn Amr reported that once the
Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be
upon him) passed by Sa’d (Allah have blessing
on him) while he was performing ablution. The
Prophet said, “What is this extravagance?”
Sa’d said (Allah have blessing on him), “Is there
extravagance with water in ablution?”
The Prophet said, “Yes even if you were on the
banks of a flowing river.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 425)

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Ladies and Gentleman,
I feel privileged to be part of the international symposium
on “Creating Water-Secure Pakistan”. Our country is endowed
with mountains in the north and to the Arabian Sea in the
south. Nature has been very kind in providing us all kinds of
natural resources including abundance of water. We were
quite sufficient in our per capita water availability during the
early decades after independence. Accordingly, Tarbela and
Mangla dams were built.
Pakistan’s economy is propelled mainly by the
agriculture and agro-based industry. The era of 60s brought in
a green revolution alongwith focussed attention to the
industrial sector. We, however, in the later decades
neglected the basic ingredient on which both these sources
were to flourish and that ingredient is WATER! We have
adopted a fragmented approach thus hampering the country`s
progression. With every passing day the need to build water
reservoirs is being felt more than ever. Water availability for

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agriculture, industry and even for household is depleting and it
is apprehended that we may become a water stressed country
if remedial measures are not taken.
Today, countries around the world have developed plans
to cater for their depleting and scarce water resources.
Pakistan is blessed with a confluence of streams and rivers
flowing through our land. We had inherited one of the best
canal irrigation systems in the world. But we failed to take
stock of the situation, as with the increase in population the
need for water for cultivatable land also increased. The canal
system, however, was not expanded adequately to
compensate for the new demand. This shortfall was met with
ground pumping resulting in the decrease in the water table
across the country especially in Balochistan.

Ladies and Gentleman,
Pakistan’s water storage capacity is limited to only 30
days which is reducing with time due to sedimentation. In case

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the new water reservoirs are not constructed, the irrigation
supplies would reduce substantially to the level which we had
in 60s when there were no reservoirs. This situation would
create serious water conflicts in the society which can only be
addressed by taking timely action. There is a need for building
of large water reservoirs.
The other area of concern pertains to power generation
which serves as a life line to the industrial sector of the
country. There is an ever widening gap between demand and
supply of power generation. This energy shortfall is seriously
hampering the industrial growth, as a result, our GDP has
been stunted while foreign reserves have depleted. The power
generation sector is badly plagued with circular debt and one
of the reasons for this is our over reliance on thermal rather
than hydel means of power production. According to NEPRA`s
2015 State of Industry report, Pakistan has the potential of
generating 40000 mega watts of hydro power. The need of

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the hour is to shift to efficient and cost effective means of
power generation.

Ladies and Gentleman,
About 2 million drought ridden and impoverished
residents of Tharparkar and Cholistan amplify the human side
of this problem. The area represents one of the worst hit
regions of the country because of poor water management
and as a result thousands of children have lost their lives. The
situation in Tharparkar is a case in example of how bleak the
things may become in other parts of the country in case
adequate “Water Management Measures” are not adopted. In
order to improve the ground water levels and recharge our
Aquifers we need to build more Delay Action Dams.
Ladies and Gentleman,
“Water is life” … And We as a Nation, Need to conserve it!

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It is heartening to know, that at this crucial juncture, the
Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan has taken the initiative of
establishing the “DAM FUND”. I take this opportunity to thank
him on behalf of the nation for being the bastion of this noble
cause. I have also come to know, that since its inception a
total amount of 6.4 billion rupees (as of 17 th October, 2018)
have already been generated which speaks volumes of the
enthusiasm and trust shown by our fellow countrymen.
Provision of safe drinking water is a fundamental right,
as is also envisaged in the constitution. It is therefore, the
responsibility of the state to provide this basic facility to every
citizen of the country. During my address to the joint session
of the Parliament, I categorically urged upon the legislators
that `Construction of new water reservoirs should be amongst
the top priorities of the government`. The launch of “Clean and
Green Pakistan” by the Prime Minister is a right step towards
this objective. The Government has started dedicated efforts
for water conservation and management which would require

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a synergised approach based on integrated water resources
management principles. We need to work with the whole of
the Nation approach and I am confident that with commitment,
dedication and hard work we shall achieve our objectives.
Ladies and Gentleman,
Pakistan has a National Water Policy. It is now for all of
us to demonstrate motivation and implement this Policy.
Furthermore, in order to ensure a behavioural change a
campaign on water conservation is also required to be
developed and launched.
I must also lay stress here, that our obligation to manage
water is not merely limited to our national interests but it also
constitutes a major component of the Sustainable
Development Goals of the United Nations. Goal 6 of the SDGs
highlights that “Ensure availability and sustainable
management of water and sanitation for all".

Ladies and Gentleman,

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Besides construction of large dams as being part of the
solution, the Government is cognizant of water conservation
needs and its management.
I would urge the Government to adopt world best
practices which include but are not limited to; building of water
reservoirs and dams, planning for water conservation, water
audit techniques, water pricing, enhancing the irrigation
efficiency and water productivity, water reuse and recycling
methods, satellite telemetry system for equitable distribution,
adoption of drip and sprinkler irrigation techniques for water
conservation and management. I would also recommend to
the relevant Education departments that water conservation
techniques should be made part of the school curriculum so
that children who are the biggest stakeholders of this country’s
future are made aware of proper usage of water and are made
“Water Wise”.
The above measures have become even more important
in the wake of Climate Change and its impacts which have

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seriously affected the overall patterns of water availability. The
likelihood of increasing glacier melt may cause fast depletion
of natural water reserves because of global warming which
stems out from pollution. Initiatives such as the Billion Tree
Tsunami should be encouraged to address the environmental
degradation.
Pakistan should also make efforts towards safeguarding
our “Water Rights”. Issue(s) pertaining to the Indus Water
Treaty is one such example. This would require meticulous
thinking on our part and engaging with our neighbours to avoid
potential conflicts in the future. In this regard, I would urge the
foreign office and the concerned stake holders to engage in a
constructive dialogue to achieve bilateral and multi-lateral
arrangements on trans-boundary water matters.

Ladies and Gentleman,
I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight
another important point. We as a nation need to think beyond

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local and parochial interests. We need to think for our country
above all- That is Pakistan comes first!
We need to build a general consensus and a feeling of
mutual trust. The concerns of different stake holder should be
addressed at the institutional level and also in the Parliament.
IRSA Water Accord of 1991 is a good example in this regard.

Ladies and Gentleman,
Water is the cradle of life. Historically civilisations have
thrived near water streams and have perished without it. We
as a Nation have to preserve Water for our present and Future
Generations.
I hope that the symposium and its thematic sessions will
be informative for the participants and would play important
role towards creating awareness for a “Water Secure
Pakistan”. The initiative being organized by “Law and Justice
Commission of Pakistan” under the guidance of the

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Honourable Chief Justice is highly appreciated. I am optimistic
that this symposium will be instrumental towards formulation of
tangible solutions to create a water secure Pakistan.
May ALLAH`s blessings be with us all and may we find
strength to harness and efficiently utilize precious WATER
resource.
Pakistan Zindabad.

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