Pakistans reservations on Kishenganga legitimate, says FO

19 February 2009
The News International
Mariana Baabar

Melbourne: The race between Pakistan and India to see who finishes first the construction of hydro-electricity project on the Neelum River in Azad Kashmir or on the Kishenganga across the Line of Control by the Indian authorities, continues. According to Indian media reports, the provisions of the water-sharing pact, the Indus Water Treaty, signed by the two countries in 1960, stipulate that only the power project which is completed first will be held genuine: the other will be considered invalid. When this point was put to the spokesman at the Foreign Office, he commented, Our reservations about the building of Kishenganga are legitimate. While India (in 2006), accepting our viewpoint, agreed to turn the Kishenganga into a run-of-river project, diversion of water to the Wuller Lake still poses serious problems for us. We hope to settle the issue through bilateral mechanisms as provided for in the Indus Water Treaty. Peerzada Arshad Hamid, commenting in Tehelka, says that New Delhi admits that the standoff on this project has geo-strategic implications. Hamid says that on the Indian side, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation is implementing a $740 million 330 MW project in the Gurez Valley. On Pakistans side, it is Wapda working on a $2.16 billion Neelum-Jhelum project using a Chinese consortium. The race between Pakistan and India to see who finishes first the construction of hydro-electricity project on the Neelum River in Azad Kashmir or on the Kishenganga across the Line of Control by the Indian authorities, continues. According to Indian media reports, the provisions of the water-sharing pact, the Indus Water Treaty, signed by the two countries in 1960, stipulate that only the power project which is completed first will be held genuine the other will be considered invalid. When this point was put to the spokesman at the Foreign Office, he commented, Our reservations about the building of Kishenganga are legitimate. While India (in 2006), accepting our viewpoint, agreed to turn the Kishenganga into a run-of-river project, diversion of water to the Wuller Lake still poses serious problems for us. We hope to settle the issue through bilateral mechanisms as provided for in the Indus Water Treaty. Peerzada Arshad Hamid, commenting in Tehelka, says that New Delhi admits that the standoff on this project has geo-strategic implications. Hamid says that on the Indian side, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation is implementing a $740 million 330 MW project in the Gurez Valley. On Pakistans side, it is Wapda working on a $2.16 billion Neelum-Jhelum project using a Chinese consortium.