Pakistan Moves International Court To Stall Kashmir Power Project16 August 2011
Islamabad: Pakistan has filed a petition in the Court of Arbitration (CoA), TheHague, seeking an order to ask India to put on hold construction on the Kishenganga project till the final decision of the court. Constructed by the National Hydel Power Corporation at Gurez, close to the LoC, the 330Mw hydroelectric project has been dogged in controversies. Pakistan wanted it should not come up, the militancy added to the indecision of the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir. The Rs3642.04 crore project is scheduled to be completed by 2015. According to sources in the ministry of water and power, a seven-member Pakistani delegation headed by Kamal Majidullah, special assistant to the Prime Minister, will attend the hearing of the CoA at The Hague on August 25 where India would also turn up to defend the continuation of the construction work on the Kishenganga project. The other members of the Pakistani delegation include Khalil Ahmad, ambassador at large; Shamila Mahmood, a legal consultant; Sheraz Jamil Memon, commissioner of Pakistan’s Commission of Indus Water. The delegation will reach London first where it would hold consultations with foreign lawyers on August 21-23. Then they will arrive in The Hague on August 24. The sources said Pakistan’s legal team would present its case seeking a stay on the ongoing construction work on the project till the final verdict of the court. All the members of the CoA visited the Neelum-Jehlum project in Pakistan and Kishenganga project in India in June to assess as to how much construction has been completed. The Jammu and Kashmir government, meanwhile, said the Pakistani objection will not hamper the project. “We fail to understand what Pakistan is up to. Last month a team of Indian and Pakistani Indus water commission visited along with the court of arbitration. They inspected the project thoroughly to prepare a report,” said Basharat Ahmad Dhar, power commissioner J&K. Pakistan believes that the project would divert the water of the Jhelum River, which they say is violation of the Indus Water Treaty. Under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, New Delhi has given up its claim about water usage of three western rivers- Jhelum, Chenab and Indus (all flowing from Jammu and Kashmir) - to Pakistan in lieu of three eastern rivers - Satluj, Beas and Ravi. The treaty prevents the storage of the water otherwise owned by the state. “The project does not violate any clause of the Indus Water Treaty. We are only using 10% of the water for the Kishanganga project and it does not violate the treaty, “ said a top official involved with the project construction.