ISLAMABAD: Federal Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday clarified that Pakistan would not accept any external pressure on Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) reached with India in 1960 for distribution of water between the two countries.
“Each and every clause of the IWT should be followed by both the signatories in its letter and spirit,” he said while talking to media persons after addressing a seminar titled ‘Hydro Politics around Pakistan: Reassessing the Efficacy of IWT’ at the National Defence University (NDU).
Commenting on India’s latest move to build Ratle Dam on the River Chenab after Baglihar and Kishanganga projects, the minister revealed that Pakistan did an extensive exercise in one-and-a-half years over the issue.
“Pakistan’s case is stronger than that of India and we will protect its national interests at every cost,” he asserted.
Earlier addressing participants of the seminar, Asif said that waters regime as envisaged in the IWT continued to take the brunt of Indian mindset and their inclination to interfere with the waters, exclusively reserved for Pakistan.
“The potential to interfere is widened if not actualized, in the backdrop of conflicts between the two countries.”
However, he said, treaty was an instrument which could avoid wars, so Pakistan’s focus remained on implementation of the treaty in letter and spirit.
“The question of upper and lower riparian is essentially a misnomer in the IWT context. In the first place, Pakistan needs to stick to the treaty, while emphasising on its true implementation.”
“Secondly, we need to keep in mind that the country’s water security dilemma is accentuated in the absence of an effective water storage capacity, water conservation and management strategy,” he added.
The minister insisted that the situation could improve through a multi-pronged and time efficient management, and a strong political will to translate plans into reality.
“We should put our house in order and take meaningful steps to enhance our storage capacity.”
Asif maintained that both Pakistan and India were bound to follow the IWT clauses in letter and spirit and no side could abrogate them unilaterally.