Pakistan to take Kishanganga Dam dispute to International Court of Arbitration

In this file photo, excavators are being used at the dam site of Kishanganga power project in Gurez, Srinagar, June 21, 2012. (REUTERS)
Updated 05 June 2018
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Pakistan to take Kishanganga Dam dispute to International Court of Arbitration

  • Former Minister for Water Resources has said India wants to run Pakistan dry by building controversial water reservoirs
  • Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, has declared “water shortage” a top priority of the court

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is pressing the World Bank to refer the Kishanganga Dam dispute with neighboring India to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) after a failure to resolve the issue “amicably.”
“We want to take the matter to the ICA as a last resort for the interest of Pakistan. We are extremely disappointed over the World Bank’s discriminatory role in the dispute,” Syed Javed Ali Shah, the former federal Minister for Water Resources who negotiated extensively with the World Bank on the issue, told Arab News.
Pakistan and India signed Indus Waters Treaty, a water distribution agreement, with the help of World Bank in September 1960, following nine years of negotiations.
Pakistan approached the World Bank in 2010 when India started constructing the Kishanganga Dam, saying that its design violated the Indus Waters Treaty, which was brokered by the World Bank.
“We wanted the World Bank to exert pressure on India as guarantor of the treaty, but unfortunately the dispute is not resolved despite several rounds of dialogue,” said Shah.
The former minister said that Pakistan’s only option now is to go to the ICA. “India intends to run Pakistan dry, but its dream will never be fulfilled,” he said.
Shah also confirmed that a letter from World Bank urged Pakistan to withdraw its plea of referring the Kishanganga Dam dispute to the ICA and accept India’s offer of a “neutral expert.”
“Pakistan doesn’t want to set a precedent by accepting the offer of a neutral expert as this could later be used to settle all other water disputes with India,” he said.
The World Bank’s tribunal observed that India can use water of three western rivers, but it cannot divert water for the dams. Following the tribunal’s findings, India started constructing the dam. Pakistan approached the international financial institution again in July 2016 over the matter.
Dr. Pervaiz Amir, water expert and a former member of Prime Minister’s Task Force on Climate Change, warned Pakistan that taking the dispute to the ICA could “result in abolition of the Indus Waters Treaty that has survived conflicts and wars between the nuclear-armed states.”
He urged Pakistan to focus on constructing new dams to increase water storage and to raise its water disputes with India at international forums.
Amir said Pakistan stores around 7 percent its annual water flow while India has been storing 33 percent of its annual water flow.
“Pakistan has become a water-stressed country. If reservoirs are not built on emergency basis the country could run out of water by 2025,” he warned.
On Monday, when the Supreme Court scheduled the controversial Kalabagh Dam case hearing for June 9, the Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said: “Pakistan’s existence depends on water and I will do whatever is in my power to resolve the issue.”
This has, however, sparked a debate over the construction of Kalabagh Dam as three of Pakistan’s provinces — Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan — have already passed separate resolutions opposing the Kalabagh Dam.
A number of water experts and politicians from Punjab think that Kalabagh is the quick solution to address water shortage in the country due to its natural location for the reservoir.
Kalabagh Dam, which was first conceived in 1970, would have the capacity to generate 3,600 megawatts of electricity and enough water to cultivate seven million acres of currently barren land.


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 24 April 2019
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time

TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.