April 2005 News

World Bank suggests three names: Neutral expert on Baglihar

27 April 2005
The Dawn
Qudssia Akhlaque

Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday formally received from the World Bank names of three internationally renowned experts on water issues in the first step towards the appointment of a neutral expert for arbitration on the Baglihar dam dispute with India, foreign ministry officials confirmed on Wednesday. The list of experts was communicated simultaneously to Pakistan and India on Tuesday evening, it is learnt. The World Bank has already dispatched the procedure of appointing a neutral expert to the two governments. According to informed sources, the bank has asked the governments of Pakistan and India to choose their nominee from the three-member panel of experts within two weeks. 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 discretion to appoint the expert. An inter- ministerial meeting will be convened in Islamabad soon to select Pakistanís nominee, government sources said. The bankís move comes three months after Pakistan formally requested it to appoint a neutral expert under the 1960 bilateral Indus Waters Treaty to resolve the dispute. Pakistan maintains that the design of the Baglihar dam being built by India on the Chenab River in occupied Kashmir violates the treaty as it would block large quantities of water meant for it. India claims the project is within the parameters of the treaty. India has been dragging its feet on the issue since 1999 when the project was launched. It has ignored Pakistanís repeated demands for suspension of work till the issue is settled. The 450-megawatt hydro-power project is expected to begin generation by 2006.


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