Pakistan on Friday asked India to suspend the ongoing construction of the Kishanganga and Ratle hydro power projects, Dawn reported. A resolution adopted by the National Assembly’s foreign affairs and water and power committees also asked the World Bank to set up a Court of Arbitration to mediate the dispute over the Indus Waters Treaty between the two countries. The two projects are being constructed on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers.
The joint meeting of the committees was briefed on several issues regarding the dispute, including under-construction Indian projects and the need for Pakistan to plan a course of action on the subject. While a special invitee to the meeting said that New Delhi could not unilaterally scrap the Indus Waters Treaty, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of playing politics over the pact.
“We will not let India violate the treaty,” Chaudhry said. “We have already requested the World Bank to appoint a chairman of the arbitration court,” he said, adding that the country had serious reservations about India’s move to construct between 45 to 60 dams on the rivers along its western front.
In December 2016, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria accused India of consistently violating the United Nations Charter by trespassing into Pakistan’s territorial waters. Zakaria said Islamabad wanted to “amicably resolve all outstanding issues” with its neighbour by inviting New Delhi for a dialogue. On December 17, 2016, Tariq Fatemi a special assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said Islamabad’s position was based “on the principles enshrined in the treaty”.
The World Bank had coordinated negotiations between the nations to ink the Indus Waters Treaty, which divides the flow of six rivers between the countries. According to the accord, India controls Beas, Ravi and Sutlej, while Pakistan holds reign over Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. On August 19, Pakistan had sought the Court of Arbitration’s intervention in the resolution of disputes related to the Kishanganga and Ratle projects.
On December 12, 2016, the World Bank had suspended the separate processes initiated by India and Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty to give the neighbouring nations time to mull over other ways to resolve their disputes. The development puts the proposed appointment of a neutral expert, requested by India, on hold, in addition to temporarily halting the selection of a chairperson of the Court of Arbitration, as proposed by Pakistan.