Pak to request WB to appoint neutral expert to resolve Kishanganga dispute with India

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lslamabad, Sep. 28 (ANI): Pakistan will approach the World Bank to request the appointment of a neutral expert to resolve the over the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project dispute if Indus Water Commission-level talks between India and fail.

The Daily Times quoted an official document, as saying that the Pakistan Government has directed its Foreign Office to initiate the process of requesting the appointment to resolve the dispute over the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project as stipulated in the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

Under the treaty, the western tributaries of the Indus River have been allocated to Pakistan, but Article III (2d) allows India to use these waters for hydropower generation.

According to sources, Pakistan would attempt to solve the dispute bilaterally during the secretary-level talks, and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had recently said that the country would discuss the water dispute with India in the next round of negotiations.

However, the Pakistan Government is not expecting any flexibility from India and had thus finalised preparations to request a neutral expert to resolve the matter.

Previously, India and Pakistan had settled their differences on the Baglihar project through the arbitration of a neutral expert.

Pakistan has been opposing the construction of the Kishanganga hydropower project on Ganga River in Kashmir, which is called Neelum upon entering Pakistan.

Pakistan believes that the diversion of waters of Neelum is not allowed under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, and it will face a 27 per cent water deficit, when the project gets completed.

The reduced water flow in the Neelum would not yield the required results of the proposed 1.6 billion dollars Neelum-Jehlum hydropower project that has been designed to generate 969 MW of electricity.

It has said that India has almost completed a 22-kilometre long tunnel to divert Kishanganga waters to Wullar Lake in Jammu and Kashmir.

The permanent commission on the IWT requested both India and Pakistan on May 11, 2009 to jointly appoint a neutral expert to resolve the matter, but differences on both sides have prevented the governments from proceeding. (ANI)

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