March 2005 News

India Invites Pak To Settle Dam Issue

26 March 2005
The Nation

Islamabad: Besides sending more water statistics, India has formally invited Pakistan to resolve Baglihar Dam issue bilaterally since Islamabad moved the World Bank for appointment of a neutral expert, The Nation has learnt reliably. The Indian government made the fresh contact through Permanent Commission on Indus Waters, the only body that exists between both sides since 1960 Water Treaty, the sources in Ministry of Water and Power maintained. In the same time, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's Advisor Sharifuddin Pirzada and Law Ministry have almost finalized the case to contest before the neutral expert or International Court of Justice. 'Besides finance arrangements, all relevant data pertaining to Chenab River waters and Baglihar project's construction has been collected to contest the case,' the sources elaborated. To a question, the sources said Pakistan was unexpected to accept Indian offer to resolve the issue through bilateral means as both countries had been engaged in the process for the last several years that caused delay in finding a solution and nothing else. 'A formal response has yet not be given to India.' The World Bank has yet not appointed a neutral expert on the issue despite passage of one-month time provided in the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 to deal with the cases like Baglihar project. The Bank was the major facilitator of the treaty between the two countries. When asked about the data dispatched by India on Baglihar, the sources said it pertained to the spillways and the water flows from Baglihar project being constructed on Chenab River in the held Valley of Kashmir. 'They have sent us technical data that does not satisfy Pakistan as it will cause reduction of 7 to 8 thousand cusecs water for 4 Rabi weeks in Chenab River,' these courses further said. When asked about sending of a technical delegation to Washington on Baglihar project, the sources in Water and Power Ministry said presently there is no such programme as Pakistan is waiting for appointment of a neutral expert.


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