Pakistan takes up Kishanganga project issue with World Bank

Pakistan on Sunday said that it has sent a four-member delegation to Washington to raise India’s alleged violation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) with the World Bank, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

The move comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 330-megawatt Kishanganga hydropower station , one of the projects that India has been working on in Jammu and Kashmir, amid protests from Islamabad.

Pakistan has opposed some of these projects, saying they violate a World Bank-mediated treaty on the sharing of waters from the Indus and its tributaries upon which 80 percent of its irrigated agriculture depends. New Delhi believes that IWT allows it to build ‘run-of-river’ hydel projects that do not change the course of the river and do not deplete the water level downstream.

Disagreeing with the Indian interpretation, Islamabad argues that the Kishanganga project not only violates the course of the river but also depletes its water level.

Speaking to the media in Washington, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said a four-member delegation, led by attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali, would hold talks with World Bank officials on the issue on Monday.

“The issue of construction of the Kishanganga dam on River Neelum will be discussed in the meeting,” he said, stating that it was a violation of the IWT by India. “The Pakistani delegation will also raise the issue with the president of the World Bank,” he added.

Chaudhry said the World Bank was a guarantor of the international agreement and, therefore, it must intervene in the matter and fulfil its obligation.

“The dam has been constructed on waters flowing into Pakistan that would seriously disrupt supplies vital to the country’s agriculture,” he said, adding, “India plans to undertake several such projects in the disputed territory.”

India had started work on the Kishanganga hydropower station in 2007. Three years later, Pakistan took the matter to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which stayed the project for three years. In 2013, the court ruled that the Kishanganga project was “a run-of-river plant within the parameters of the IWT and that India may accordingly divert water from the Kishanganga (Neelum River) for power generation”.

Unable to stop New Delhi, Pakistan attempted to counter India by starting its own projects on the Neelum River and, last month, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had inaugurated the first unit of the Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric project.

TOI

Mukhi

The Kootneeti Team - Indian Diplomacy

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