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The News

Published Date: Jun 21, 2011


It is really unbelievable that noted economist Dr. A R Kemal who had died long ago, is still shown as a member of the advisory committee of Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC-Pakistan), Islamabad.

The official website of the centre (

advc.aspx) still mentions Dr. Kemal, who died four years ago, as member of its advisory council.

Other members of the committee, Dr. Muhammad Akram Kahlown and Dr. Asad Ali Shah, former head of Pakistan Meteorological Department and former chairman Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources and member Planning Commission were in fact ex officio members only by virtue of holding their offices, which they left three years ago.

What is even more shocking is that the centre during its 9-year existence has delivered nothing and did not even raise the issue of fast receding of the country’s glaciers, which are melting because of the Indian troops occupation and their movements.

Arshad Abbasi of SDPI (Sustainable Development Policy Institute) who has worked extensively on the environment issues said the winter fog, which causes considerable financial and environmental damage to Pakistan, is purely due to the coal power plants of India but Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad and his centre has never highlighted this serious environmental issue.

“The Global Change Impact Studies Centre has also been quiet over the fast depleting of Siachen Glacier, the water tank of Pakistan that guarantees the water flows in the Indus River, the lifeline of 180 million Pakistanis,” he said.

Mr Abbasi said that said that Siachen glacier, which is melting at unprecedented rate, also falls in catchment areas of Indus River. The presence of the Indian Army there and the establishment of permanent cantonments for troops is the fundamental cause of its melting at an unprecedented rate. In order to facilitate the troops, glacial ice has been cut and melted; cutting and melting of glacial ice through application of chemicals have made it the fastest melting glacier. In earlier articles, the author has highlighted how dumping chemicals, metals, organic and human waste, daily leakages from 2000 gallons of kerosene oil flowing through the 250 km plastic pipeline laid by India throughout the glacier is accelerating its melting process.

To strengthen their position, the Indian army has taken various new development initiatives that include setting up of another state-of-the-art cantonment in the midst of glacier. After development of this new cantonment, giant cracks have appeared throughout the glacier, visible in new high-resolution satellite images available with the SDPI. This is serious environmental disaster badly affecting the health of the glacier and consequently the climate of the region. Last year, there was cloud burst and severe floods in downstream areas, including Pakistan.

The Indian Army is trying its best to associate the cause of melting with the global warming, which is undoubtedly baseless and merely a case of evasion of responsibility. The adjoining Baltoro glacier is not only stable but is also growing as compared with glacial mass measured in 1904.

“Unfortunately Dr Ishfaq and his team has failed to register any complaint on the international forum against the Indian aggression on climate change,” Abbasi said and added there is need for professional accountability of this organisation.

The chief of GCISC, Dr Ishfaq Ahmad, said he is sorry that Dr A. R. Kemal is still being shown as member of the advisory committee of Global Change Impact Studies Centre GCISC-Pakistan, Islamabad.

He admitted that his organisation has not done enough on Pakistan’s glaciers, but claimed the Centre has been discussing the eastern and western glaciers of the region in internal meetings.

“Our climate modules are global not regional which is why GCISC could not focus both on glaciers’ melting and increasing fog in Pakistan during winter because of coal-based power plants in India.

He admitted that the glacier is melting and receding and has threatened water availability and its sustainability. He said the population is also increasing at alarming pace, which needs to be controlled keeping in view the diminishing water inflows in Pakistan.

Dr Ishfaq said the Centre started functioning in May 2002. Later, it received support from the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Environment. In January 2005 a high-level committee called the Prime Minister’s Committee on Climate Change was established and the GCISC was designated as its secretariat.

The committee comprises the prime minister, ministers for water & power, food & agriculture and science & technology, minister of state for environment, deputy chairman, Planning Commission and special advisor to the prime minister.

The objectives of GCISC are to monitor the current and the likely future global trends in areas such as climate, water, food, agriculture, environment, biodiversity, health and energy etc., and scientifically determine their impacts on Pakistan.