Indian threat to dam up Indus waters makes Pakistan seek World Bank help

The Indus Waters Treaty allocates 80 % of water to Pakistan from rivers Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum that flows from India to Pakistan. Photograph:( AFP )

ANI Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan Sep 28, 2016, 07.41 AM (IST)

Pakistan has approached the World Bank to step in and prevent India from abrogating the Indus Waters Treaty. 

"In the meeting with the Pakistani delegation the World Bank committed itself to timely fulfilling its obligations under the treaty while remaining neutral," a statement released by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington read, The Dawn reported. 

Pakistan also urged the World Bank to set up a court of arbitration quickly by selecting three judges in order to thwart India's plans to make maximum use of waters of rivers that are governed by Pakistan. 

New Delhi's threat to pull the plug on the water-distribution treaty had come a few days after 18 soldiers stationed in Uri, Kashmir, were killed by four armed men, who India believe were helped by Pakistan. 

Back in Washington, a Pakistani delegate, led by attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali, told the World Bank that India's threat was a breach of Article IX of the Indus Waters Treaty.

The Article IX of the treaty deals with arbitration of disputes between the parties concerning the interpretation or application of the treaty or the existence of any fact which, if established, might constitute a breach of the treaty.

World Bank has been asked to initiate the arbitration process because it had originally brokered the treaty in 1960. 

Under the IWT, India has control of three 'eastern' rivers — Ravi, Sutlej and Beas — and Pakistan has rights over the 'western' rivers — Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, though India can use 20 per cent of the 'western' rivers for power generation purposes.

But there has been a protracted issue about how Kishanganga and Rattle power projects have been set up by India despite mediation by the International Court of Justice in 2013.

Pakistan has objected to the power plant being built on Kishanganga river because India has planned to build a 24-km tunnel to divert water for generating more electricity. Islamabad say they will get less water if water is diverted.

Kishanganga river is in the Kashmir region and eventually meets Jhelum river in Pakistan.

Islamabad has also objected to the Rattle power project on Chenab river for its faulty designs. 

But the Indian government is keen on revoking the treaty because they feel Pakistan has failed to rein in jihadist groups from launching cross-border attacks. 

Pakistan's top diplomat Sartaj Aziz reacted strongly, saying India's threat of ignoring the agreement would be seen as an "act of war". 

(WION with inputs from agencies)