Pakistan To Move World Bank Against Kashmir Hydro Project

30 April 2009
Etalaat News Service

Islamabad: Pakistan is examining various options, including the appointment of an arbitrator by the World Bank, against India's diversion of the Jhelum river to the Wullar Barrage and what it terms the faulty design of the Kishanganga hydropower project in Jammu and Kashmir, the foreign office said Thursday. 'Indus Commissioner Pakistan wrote a letter to India in March but Pakistan has not received satisfactory answer and is now considering other options,' Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said at his weekly briefing here. A media report earlier in the month had said Pakistan would move the International Court of Arbitration on the issue. 'I served notice on the Indian commissioner in March after exhausting all endeavours mentioned in the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty to resolve the issue,' The News April 17 had quoted an official as saying. Jamaat Ali Shah, the Pakistan Indus Waters Commissioner, was speaking at a closed door meeting chaired by Water and Power Minister Pervez Ashraf. Shah told the meeting that talks between Pakistan and India have failed after exhausting all endeavours at the Permanent Commission of Indus Waters (PCIW) level. Former water and power secretary Ashfaq Mehmud, and top officials of the water and power ministry, the foreign office, the law division, the General Headquarters (GHQ) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) attended the meeting. Pakistan has opposed the construction of the hydropower project, saying the diversion of river water to the Wullar Barrage contravenes the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. India says it does not. The World Bank had brokered the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty on the sharing of the rivers that flow into Pakistan from India. This is the one treaty that remained in place in spite of the various hiccups in the Pakistan-India relations that have seen them fighting two full-blown wars in 1965 and 1971 and engage militarily in 1999 in Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir. India, which also accuses Pakistan of fomenting insurgency in Kashmir, had suspended the sub-continental composite dialogue process in the wake of the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai that New Delhi has blamed on elements operating from this country.