Pakistan Can Use Third Option To Resolve Issue Of Kishanganga Hydro-electric Project

1 August 2008
Associated Press of Pakistan

New Delhi: Expressing satisfaction over the modifications made by India in Baglihar hydro-electric as recommended by international neutral expert, Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, Pakistan Indus water Commissioner said Pakistan can use third option if issue of Kishanganga project is not resolved bilaterally. Briefing newsmen here on Friday, he said under the Indus Basin Treaty, Pakistan can approach Neutral Expert or Court of Arbitration to resolve issue of Kishanganga project as both the countries could not reach any understanding during the three-day meeting of Pak-India Permanent Indus Commission here on the controversial project. India is constructing Kishanganga hydro-project on Neelum River, a tributary of Jhelum River in occupied Kashmir. A report will be given to the government on return to decide next course of action, he said adding Pakistan is keen to address this issue through talks bilaterally. At the same time, it has the option to go to Court of Arbitration or neutral expert to resolve the issue as Pakistan has initiated Neelum-Jhelum project down- stream in Azad Kashmir where water will be needed for the project. If Kishanganga project is constructed under the design as proposed by India, twenty seven percent less water will flow in Neelum River which will affect the Neelum-Jhelum project downstream. He said he has visited Kishanganga project site in 2005, but now India has come forward with a new revised run of the river project. Pakistan has raised serious objections over Kishanganga project during the 3-day talks and termed it as violation of Indus Basin Treaty. He said Pakistan had invited Indian team to visit Neelum-Jhelum project from August 18 to 23. Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, along with his two- member team inspected Baglihar project in occupied Kashmir from July 29 to 31. After conducting measurements, he found the modifications in the project according to the recommendations of the World Bank neutral expert Raymond Laftee. The expert had recommended to lower the height of dam by one and a half meter and raised the power tunnel to three meters. “Now, it will be seen the ‘dead’ and ‘live’ storage capacity of the dam as Pakistan wants 55000 cusecs water on Head Mirala,” Pakistan water Commissioner said. He said under the Indus Basin Treaty three rivers have been allocated to Pakistan and Pakistan has the right to use their water without any hindrance. To a question, he said there is no bar to use river water for irrigation, Industrial purposes and power production in occupied Kashmir. India can irrigate 1,300,000 acres of land, he said. So far it has irrigated only 800,000 acres during the last more than three decades. Syed Jamaat Ali Shah led a nine- member delegation at the talks while Indian Indus Water Commissioner G. Raghunathan represented his country at the three-day deliberations.