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.


British PM May tries to break Brexit deadlock by winning more EU concessions

Updated 56 min 42 sec ago
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British PM May tries to break Brexit deadlock by winning more EU concessions

  • Only two months left till UK is supposed to leave the EU, but no final agreement on how exists yet
  • May will make a statement in the parliament Monday afternoon to present her plans on Brexit

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday will try to crack the deadlock over Brexit by setting out proposals in parliament that are expected to focus on winning more concessions from the European Union.
With just over two months left until the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29 there is no agreement in London on how and even whether it should leave the world’s biggest trading bloc.
After her Brexit divorce deal was rejected by 402 lawmakers in the 650-seat parliament last week, May has been searching for a way to get a deal through parliament.
Attempts to forge a consensus with the opposition Labour Party failed so May is expected to focus on winning over 118 rebels in her own party and the small Northern Irish party which props up her government with concessions from the EU.
In a sign of just how grave the political crisis in London has become, the Daily Telegraph reported that May was even considering amending the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.
The Daily Telegraph said EU sources cast May’s plan a non-starter as a renegotiation of such a significant international treaty would require the consent of all the parties involved in Northern Ireland.
May told British ministers she would focus on securing changes from Brussels designed to win over rebel Conservatives and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, The Times said.
May will make a statement in parliament around Monday afternoon and put forward a motion in parliament on her proposed next steps on Brexit, though some lawmakers are planning to wrest control of Britain’s exit from the government.
After May’s motion is published, lawmakers will be able to propose amendments to it, setting out alternatives to the prime minister’s deal.
Parliament is deeply divided over Brexit, with different factions of lawmakers supporting a wide range of options including leaving without a deal, holding a second referendum and seeking a customs union with the EU.
Ever since Britain voted by 52-48 percent to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016, London’s political class has been debating how to leave the European project forged by France and Germany after the devastation of World War Two.
While the country is divided over EU membership, most agree that the world’s fifth largest economy is at a crossroads and that its choices over Brexit will shape the prosperity of future generations for years to come.
Supporters of EU membership cast Brexit as a immense mistake that will undermine the West, smash Britain’s reputation as a stable destination for investment and slowly weaken London’s position as one of the world’s top two financial capitals.
Brexit supporters cast leaving as a way to break free from a union they see as a doomed German-dominated experiment in unity that is fast falling behind the leading economic powers of the 21st century, the United States and China.