Mar 16, 2010

Sindh: International Day of Rivers: Call for protection of Indus River

Active ImageSindh groups unite to struggle for the rehabilitation of the Indus River by arranging marches.



Below is an article published by

Chairman of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum Syed Mohammad Ali Shah has called for the decommissioning of all dams to rehabilitate the Indus River.

He said that the 1991 water accord had failed to solve the problem of water shortage and stressed the need for launching a campaign against dams.

He was addressing a long march on the river bank in Jamshoro on Sunday. The long march organised by the forum had set out from Kharochhan on March 2 and reached Jamshoro in 14 days after covering 325 kilometres.

The march for rehabilitation of the river reached its peak to coincide with the International Day for Rivers observed throughout the world on Sunday.

He blamed the government for the acute shortage of water in the province and said the rulers had shackled the mighty river with dams. He called it a conspiracy to destroy Sindh but said the people would foil it.

He said that non-release of water into the river had put lives of tens of thousands of people at stake. Sea water had swallowed about three million acres of farmland, Mr Shah said.

He urged all nationalist groups to unite to struggle for the rehabilitation of the river and said the next march, to be launched from Guddu barrage, would go up to Tarbela dam. Thereafter a sit-in will be held in Islamabad.

Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party chairman Dr Qadir Magsi supported PFF”s call for rehabilitation of the river and said that it was imperative for survival of Sindh and Sindhi people.

He said that Sindhis should be prepared to wage a relentless and prolonged struggle for their rights. Those who claimed that releasing water into the sea was wastage, he said, were enemies of Sindh.

He said that the rulers had decided to build 32 dams on the river in order to strangulate Sindh. “Instead of dying of thirst we would rather die fighting for our rights,” he said.

Awami Tehrik president Ayaz Latif Palijo said that the Sindh assembly with its useless resolutions would not be able to stop construction of dams.

Only a consistent struggle by Sindhi people could achieve that goal, he said.

He accused Punjab of stealing Sindh’s water and pushing Sindhis against the wall. But the people of Sindh, he said, would not surrender and keep fighting for their rights.

JSQM leader Dr Niaz Kalani said that federal parties were not friends of Sindh and Sindhis had been left with no other option but to fight for their survival.

Save Sindh Movement chairman Shah Mohammad Shah, Jeay Sindh Qaum Parast Party chairman Qamar Bhatti and SDF leader Ibrar Qazi also addressed the gathering.