ISLAMABAD: A delegation led by Pakistan’s Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali met senior officials of the World Bank at its headquarters in the United States and urged them to stop Indian hydroelectric projects on the Neelum and Chenab rivers.
Pakistan called for an early appointment of judges pertaining to India’s construction of ‘Kishenganga’ and ‘Ratle’ hydroelectric plants on the rivers.
According to a press release issued, the delegation discussed matters related to Pakistan’s request for arbitration given to India pursuant to Article IX of the Indus Water Treaty with the World Bank officials.
On August 1 this year, Pakistan had asked India for settling concerns related to the construction of two hydroelectric plants by contacting the Court of Arbitration as provided in Article IX of the treaty.
The World Bank has to play major role under the pact for creating the court by assisting in the appointment of three judges as ‘umpires’, while each country appoints two arbitrators.
The famous Indus Water Treaty was signed by India and Pakistan in 1960 with the support of the World Bank after India started interfering in the waters flowing downstream by blocking the rivers of Ravi and Sutlej from April 1, 1948.
The agreement gives India the right to use eastern rivers waters (Ravi, Chenab, and Beas) and Pakistan the right over the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab).
It also offers specific design criteria for any hydroelectric power plants to be built by India. Pakistan has held the position that the Indian hydroelectric projects violate those very parameters of the treaty.
However, the World Bank during the meeting committed itself to timely fulfilling its obligations under the treaty while maintaining a neutral stand.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani and World Bank’s Executive Director for Pakistan Nasir Khosa were also present during the meeting.
Senior Vice President Anne-Marie LeRoy, Vice President for South Asia Annette Dixon, Deputy General Counsel for Operations, Alberto Ninio, Chief Counsel for South Asia Melinda Good and Senior Counsel for International Waterways Victor Mosoti represented the WB.