April 2005 News

Pakistan and India should agree on WB expert, hopes Aziz

28 April 2005
The Daily Times

Mangla: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz hoped on Thursday that Pakistan and India would agree on a neutral expert from the three-member panel proposed by the World Bank for the Baglihar dam project.The prime minister told journalists that Pakistan would accept the expert's decision. 'Pakistan and India are signatories to the Indus Water Treaty and I hope that the decision by a neutral expert will be acceptable to both countries,' he said when asked if India would respect the decision. Aziz said the government had received the names of three water experts from the World Bank, following a request by Islamabad earlier this year for a neutral expert on the Baglihar dam issue. Aziz said water security was very important for Pakistan, as its economy relied heavily on agriculture. He said India had not started work on the Kishanganga project on Jhelum River in Jammu and Kashmir yet. Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani told BBC that Pakistan had confidence in one of the three experts referred by World Bank and had informed them of their choice. Jilani said, 'We have nominated one expert and formally informed WB of our decision.' However, he ruled out that Pakistan had received any information of India stopping construction work on the Baglihar dam.Iftikhar Gilani adds from New Delhi Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna confirmed that India had received a reply from the World Bank over the Baglihar Dam issue, recommending the appointment of a neutral expert and proposing three. If the two sides differ on their choice of expert, the World Bank will use its discretion to appoint the expert.


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