Pakistan: Now or Never?
Perspectives on Pakistan
Pakistan is running out of water so fast that the shortage will strangulate all water-based economic activity by 2015, a Pakistani thinktank says. And that pretty much covers 70 percent of the population who are involved in farming.
This is not a new warning. In recent months, as this blog itself has noted, experts have painted an increasingly bleak scenario of Pakistan’s rivers drying up, the ground water polluted and over-exploited and the whole water infrastructure in a shambles.
But Pakistan, as the Islamabad-based Centre for Research and Security Studies says, is not listening. Pakistan has gone from a “water scarce” country to a “water-stressed” country, worse than Ethiopia, the Centre says quoting a 2006 World Bank study. In 10 years time, it will become a water-famine country.
Among the 25 most populous countries, South Africa, Egypt and Pakistan are the most water-limited nations, that study said.
Is the International Monetary Fund going to force Pakistan to swallow its classic bitter pill – which to some is worse than the disease – as a price of rescuing it from economic meltdown?
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has said loans to countries hit by the global financial turmoil would be faster, and with fewer conditions, than in the past. Conditions for lending should be defined by what is needed for the programme and should not be an “attempt to fix the world”, the IMF Survey magazine quotes him as telling staff.