Pakistan has become hysterical again. This time, Islamabad has found a new issue: water. According to the Pakistani media (and politicians), New Delhi has started a 'water war' against Pakistan, having decided to 'starve' the country of its due share of water.
Pakistan's de facto boss, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has stated that India will remain the main focus of his nation military doctrine so long as the issues of "Kashmir and water were not solved". And at the end, there is always a veiled threat: the 'water war' may trigger a 'nuclear war' if Delhi does not listen to Islamabad and Pakistan's American sponsors do not immediately 'restrain' India.
In an IDSA paper entitled Vicious anti-India propaganda in Pakistan on Water issues, Dr Arvind Gupta lists some of the pearls of wisdom found in the Pakistani press and in the mouth of Pakistani politicians. For example, on March 3 in Daily Times, a commentator warns: "unless Pakistan was assured on the supply of water, it will never abandon the proxies that can keep India on its toes." He further added: "For Pakistan the territory of Kashmir may not be as important as the water issue."
This last comment is the most significant.
Retrospectively, the motivation of Jinnah for 'recovering' Kashmir in 1947-48 was perhaps not the Two-Nation Theory, but the waters of the State which were (and are) an existential issue for the Land of the Pure.
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Toiba founder (and mastermind the 2008 Mumbai attacks) added to the hullabaloo by asserting that the next war between India and Pakistan would be fought over water. Saeed called on the people of Pakistan to stand united against India.
It has been forgotten that since 1960 the Indus Water Treaty has been able to legally deal with all water issues facing India and Pakistan. The 'water war' gimmick is only orchestrated by the Army which finds that to keep Pakistan 'together', the best way is to point a finger at the 'eternal' enemy, India.
However a new element will soon come into play: Climate Change. This is not going to improve the relations between the two neighbours as the water scarcity will soon be real. It does not augur well for the future of the subcontinent.
Image: Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, center, the leader of a banned Islamic group Jamaat-ud-Dawa addresses an anti-Indian rally over a water dispute between Pakistan and India, in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, March 7, 2010. Picture copyright Associated Press. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.Also see: Pak water cry against India: Charade or Real? | Copenhagen Summit Special