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World Bank asked to make India address Pakistan’s concerns on dam

World Bank asked to make India address Pakistan’s concerns on dam

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Friday expressed concern over the upcoming inauguration of Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project (KHEP) and called on World Bank (WB) to push India to address Pakistani concerns.

“Pakistan believes that the inauguration of the project without the resolution of the dispute is tantamount to violation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT),” an official statement said.

India is inaugurating KHEP on Saturday. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit held Kashmir for the project’s inauguration, which diverts water of the Neelum River to an underground power house through a 23.25km long head race tunnel for power generation.

India started the construction of the 330MW project in 2007. Pakistan on May 17, 2010 moved for international arbitration against India under Indus Waters Treaty which governs the sharing of water.

“Despite several rounds of bilateral negotiations as well as mediations under the auspices of the World Bank, India continued with the construction of the project. This intransigence on part of India clearly threatens the sanctity of the treaty,” the FO noted.

Reminding the World Bank about its responsibility vis-à-vis the Indus Waters Treaty as its custodian, the FO asked it to urge India to address Pakistan’s reservations on the project.

It should be recalled that the National Security Committee had at one of its recent meetings directed the Water Resources Division to forcefully pursue the violations of the Indus Waters Treaty by India with the World Bank.

The committee had on that occasion also expressed displeasure over the laxity with which the matter was pursued with the World Bank.

Pakistan had earlier in April approached World Bank — at the time of the completion of the project — asking it to fulfil its responsibilities and had pointed out that India completed the project while it had “paused” the arbitration process for constitution of a Court of Arbitration as requested by Pakistan in early 2016.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2018

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