WB says it’s seek­ing am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion to Pak­istan-In­dia wa­ter dis­pute

The Miracle - - Pakistan - Source: dawn.com

WASH­ING­TON: The World Bank said on Tues­day that it was hold­ing talks with a Pak­istani del­e­ga­tion to seek an am­i­ca­ble res­o­lu­tion of its wa­ter dis­pute with In­dia. A Pak­istani del­e­ga­tion, headed by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ashtar Ausaf Ali, ar­rived in Wash­ing­ton on Sun­day, a day after In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in­au­gu­rated a con­tro­ver­sial dam in In­dia-held Kash­mir, which Pak­istan fears will re­duce its share in the wa­ters of the In­dus and its trib­u­taries. The In­dus sys­tem of rivers com­prises three western rivers — the In­dus, Jhelum and Chenab — and three eastern rivers — the Sut­lej, Beas and Ravi. The con­tro­ver­sial Kis­hanganga dam is built on the Neelum river, which is a tributary of the Jhelum river. “Se­nior World Bank of­fi­cials are meet­ing on Mon­day and Tues­day with a Pak­istan del­e­ga­tion at their re­quest to dis­cuss is­sues con­cern­ing the In­dus Wa­ters Treaty,” a World Bank spokesper­son, Elena Kara­ban, told Dawn. The 1960 In­dus Wa­ters Treaty gives Pak­istan ex­clu­sive use of the western rivers, the Jhelum, Chenab and In­dus, while the eastern rivers — Ravi, Beas and Sut­lej — go to In­dia. “The meet­ings are dis­cussing con­cerns raised by the Pak­istan del­e­ga­tion and op­por­tu­ni­ties within the treaty to seek an am­i­ca­ble res­o­lu­tion,” Ms Kara­ban said. The World Bank su­per­vised the talks that led to the treaty, which gives it a key role in set­tling wa­ter dis­putes be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan. But in a re­cently up­dated fact­sheet, the bank says that its role in re­la­tion to “dif­fer­ences” and “dis­putes” is limited to the des­ig­na­tion of peo­ple to ful­fil cer­tain roles when re­quested by either or both of the par­ties. The bank, how­ever, con­sid­ers the treaty a ma­jor achieve­ment, which has suc­cess­fully pre­vented wa­ter wars be­tween South Asia’s two nu­clear-armed na­tions. “The In­dus Wa­ters Treaty is a pro­foundly im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional agree­ment that pro­vides an es­sen­tial co­op­er­a­tive frame­work for In­dia and Pak­istan to ad­dress cur­rent and fu­ture chal­lenges of ef­fec­tive wa­ter man­age­ment to meet hu­man needs and achieve de­vel­op­ment goals,” said Ms Kara­ban while ex­plain­ing why the bank con­sid­ered the treaty one of its ma­jor achieve­ments. Both Pak­istan and In­dia have stayed en­gaged with the World Bank over the last 70 years, seek­ing its as­sis­tance when­ever they had a dis­pute over the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the treaty.In Au­gust 2016, Pak­istan asked the World Bank to ap­point a court of ar­bi­tra­tion to re­view the de­signs of Kis­hanganga and an­other pro­ject on the Chenab, called Ra­tle. In­dia re­jected the sug­ges­tion, say­ing that Pak­istan’s ob­jec­tions were tech­ni­cal in na­ture and that the mat­ter should be de­cided by a neu­tral ex­pert.

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