Washington: Environmental woes as witnessed
in Pakistan`s devastating floods threaten the unity of the
nation, exacerbating the threat of Islamic extremists, a US
government report said.
The study prepared for US lawmakers warned that
Pakistan`s ecological problems would likely get worse due to
climate change, potentially inflaming tensions with
nuclear-armed adversary India.
The report said that Pakistan faced critical risks to
food security in the coming decades due to a number of reasons
including water scarcity, population growth and mismanagement.
"The combination of these factors could contribute to
Pakistan`s decline as a fully functioning state, creating new,
or expanding existing, largely ungoverned areas," the
Congressional Research Service said.
The growth of lawless areas of the type seen now in
Pakistan`s tribal northwest is "not in US strategic interests
given the recent history of such areas being used by the
Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups," it said.
The Congressional Research Service is tasked with
advising US lawmakers, although its reports do not necessarily
reflect US policy. The Pakistan report was obtained by the
Federation of American Scientists.
Pakistan is suffering from the worst floods in its
history, affecting 14 million people. Some Islamist groups
have tried to raise their profile in the relief operations
after criticism of the government response.
While the report was written largely before the flooding,
it warned of future disasters as climate change leads to a
melting of Himalayan glaciers, the source of most of the water
in the Indus River.
But Pakistan`s environmental decision-making is held up
by corruption and rivalry between civilian and military
leaders, the report said.
The report noted that the United States has increasingly
sought to assist Pakistan on water and other environmental
The United States last year approved a five-year, USD 7.5
billion aid package for Pakistan, hoping to stabilise the
nation at the frontline of the fight against Islamic
Water has increasingly been a point of friction between
Pakistan and India, which have fought three full-fledged wars
since their separation at birth in 1947.
Many Pakistanis accuse India of stealing water; India
denies the charges and says that Pakistani mismanagement is to