THE flood in the River Sutlej has put a large part of Punjab into a precarious situation, thanks not so much to the monsoon as to our eastern neighbour, which opened the spillways, releasing about 173,000 cusecs of water recently in addition to the normal water discharge. This stratagem, designed to create problems for Pakistan, had been employed several times with devastating effect, as in the 1965 War. Most of the rivers here were already under medium to low flood because of the monsoon, with several parts of the country struggling to contain the extra water. Flooding Pakistan's plains at this time is inconsistent with the logic of the peace process and calls for severe condemnation. The floodwaters are presently heading towards lower Punjab, flowing through Vehari and Pakpattan further on to Suleimanki and Head Islam. While the channel between the two points, Suleimanki and Head Islam, is relatively secure and might avert devastation as witnessed in Kasur, Okara and many other places, the river course close to Bahawalpur is not so consistent. What is worse, the river passage lies so close to the city that even a minor overflow could prove to be disastrous. The example of Kasur, where about more than 250 villages have already been inundated, is a case in point. It is alarming to note that the flood, according to the Flood Forecasting Division, is likely to swell in its downward flow towards the Arabian Sea. Another factor that needs to be highlighted is that Punjab is the hub of the agricultural activity of the country and the floods have badly damaged the paddy and cotton crops. The number of displaced people is constantly rising. On the other hand, according to the FFD, the River Indus at Guddu and Taunsa Barrages is also in a low flood state. The government must pace up its rescue efforts: there is urgent need for all of the areas on either side of the Lower Sutlej to be evacuated; a proper resettlement plan for those affected by the flooding, compensation for those whose crops have been destroyed; medical camps and building up of levees and embankments at vulnerable points like the Head Islam and Sutlej Bridge in Bahawalpur. Also, the floods indisputably signify the need to have more dams.