Pak Says No To Baglihar Joint Control
25 July 2005
Jammu: Pakistani officials Monday ruled out joint control of a controversial dam being built by India in Held Kashmir after visiting the project. Islamabad opposes the billion-dollar Baglihar dam project, saying when completed it will deprive its wheat-bowl state of Punjab of vital irrigation water. It says the plant also violates a 44-year-old treaty brokered by the World Bank for the two nations to share the waters of rivers which criss-cross their territories. The bank is in the process of settling the dispute between the two nuclear rivals with the help of a Swiss professor who has been appointed as a 'neutral arbitrator'. Leader of the Pakistani delegation, Syed Jamat Ali Shah, told reporters Islamabad would await the bank's verdict. Asked if Pakistan would accept joint control of the dam as a solution, Shah said, 'Not at all.' Indian officials say the 450-megawatt project on the Chenab River does not contravene the water pact and could go a long way to ending routine 12-hour blackouts plaguing the Himalayan state. Earlier, the five- member Pakistani team, headed by Jamait Ali Shah, went to the project site at Chanderkote in Doda district and inspected the dam and reservoir and took measurement and on-the-spot technical details of the project, official sources said. The team also took down other technical details concerning water flow at the dam and run of the Chenab river, they said. 'We have come here to study the design, reservoir and dam of the project and submit report to our government. But today it was on the directions of neutral expert that we have come here for inspection,' Shah told reporters at Chanderkote before the site visit. 'Before the arrival of neutral expert, we were directed to inspect the project first,' he said adding that their focus this time was on 'internal set-up of the dam'. The visit was the third by the Pakistani delegation to the dam site.