SHORTAGE of water has already taken 13 lives in Pirkoh, Dera Bugti. The way things stand today, the number is clearly not high or tragic enough for those managing the affairs at provincial and federal levels as they seem to be waiting for more tragedies before they may decide to wake up and do something about the severe water shortage that has gripped the province of Balochistan in recent months.

The crisis is so severe that people are forced to consume contaminated water. Officially, their deaths get counted against this disease or that, but, make no mistake, all deaths resulting as a consequence of waterborne diseases are actually deaths caused by the serious and severe water shortage that forces people to drink water that is not fit for human consumption. The choice given to the people seems to be unambiguous; die of thirst or die consuming contaminated water. Is it fair?

It is said that the state is like one’s mother. Can a mother silently watch her children die of thirst? If so, what kind of a mother that would be?

Water is a basic need, so basic that it is mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as in the Constitution of Pakistan as part of fundamental rights of the citizens; all citizens without any discrimination. This, in turn, makes it a fundamental duty of the state to provide potable water to its subjects.

The people of Balochistan seem to be much farther away from finding water than those in the developed world who are trying to find it on the moon and the Mars. One can find families waiting along highways and main roads (as can be seen in the accompanying picture) waiting for some passing trailer to have mercy on them by letting them fill a few cans of water. The wait for the scientists might be over much before it ends for many of these families in Balochistan.

The state and its executive agencies should in the name of humanity, if not duty, do something about the situation which is getting worse by the day. It is a cry for help. Please.

Amanullah Dashti
Kech

(2)

CHOLISTAN is experiencing severe water constraint. Extreme heat and lack of water have killed over 200 livestock. The people are desperate for even a drop of water as the region stands all but parched.

The government is doing hardly anything and the media is not highlighting the issue the way it deserves to be addressed so that those at the helm may wake up to the grim reality of the region.

The people are suffering. Their livelihood and their lives are at stake. This is a desperate plea for help. The government should arrange camps in the area and make some arrangements to get water there on an emergency basis. Failure to do so will have serious consequences for the locals. It is a matter of life and death. Is someone somewhere listening?

Ayesha Hassan
Gojra

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022

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