April 2005 News

WB shortlists panel of experts for Baglihar dam

19 April 2005
The Dawn
Qudssia Akhlaque

Islamabad: The World Bank has short-listed a panel of experts for arbitration on the Baglihar dam dispute, Dawn learnt through Washington-based diplomatic sources on Tuesday. The move has come in response to Pakistan's request for appointment of a neutral expert to settle the lingering issue. The bank would soon dispatch the list of experts to the governments of Pakistan and India for their feedback, the sources said, adding the bank would ask the two countries to indicate their nominee within a reasonable timeframe, most likely a month. The panel includes experts of international repute on water disputes, mostly Europeans and Americans. A leading World Bank expert notes that a neutral expert could be nominated in consultation and consent with both the parties. In case Pakistan and India differ in their choice of expert then the bank would first ask them to select a consensus candidate by themselves. If the two countries fail to do so, the bank would use its own discretion to appoint the expert, the sources said. The government of Pakistan formally sought the World Bank mediation over the dispute on Jan 17. Under Article 9 (2) (a) of the Indus Waters Treaty Pakistan can seek the intervention of the World Bank which brokered the treaty. The bilateral water-sharing treaty gives both countries the third-party option in case of a deadlock on any issue. Article IX of the treaty provides for settling disputes through neutral experts or arbitration if they cannot be resolved between the two Indus Waters Commissioners.


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