To promote interaction and collaboration between Pakistani and Lebanese academia and researchers, this Embassy organized a talk by renowned Pakistani hydrologist, Dr. Hassan Abbas, at the American University of Beirut (AUB). The lecture, entitled “Transforming Water into an Instrument of Regional Peace – An Evolving Paradigm in the Indus Valley” was delivered at the AUB’s Geology Department on 24 October 2018.

Describing the Indus river system as the cradle of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Dr. Abbas traced important historical developments w.r.t. the Indus river system since the fourteenth century. He explained how the intricate system of canals, barrages and headworks, which started taking shape during the British colonial days and continued later on, had transformed barren swaths of land into the bread basket of the country.

The Speaker then went on to shed light on the unintended negative consequences of blocking the free flow of water in rivers such as salinity and water-logging, drying-up of some rivers, lowering of the water table, environmental degradation, etc. Consequently we have been observing tensions and conflicts between the upper and lower riparians of the system. He stressed the need for evolving a new paradigm for water management. Such paradigm would encompass a combination of emerging technologies, water economy modules and policy interventions. The free flow of rivers would help restore the ecological balance that has been disturbed due to human interventions over the past decades. Free flowing rivers can be transformed into navigable waterways for the benefit of millions of people. Since, besides Pakistan, India and Afghanistan are also connected to the Indus river system, water can serve as an instrument of peace and friendship rather than that of a conflict in a free-flowing navigable river system.

The audience, which comprised mainly of the AUB faculty members and students, took keen interest in the talk, as was evidenced by the insightful comments and questions during the Q&A session. The Chairman of the Geology Department expressed his gratitude both to the Speaker as well as to the Embassy for arranging this stimulating talk.

American University of Beirut, with a more than 150 years of history to its credit, has academically been being ranked as the top university in the Middle East. There is already cooperation going on between the Department of Biology and Chemistry, Sciences, University of Karachi. The collaboration has resulted into eight joint publications/patents.

24 October 2018

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