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Talks on Wuller barrage postponed

By Staff
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Islamabad, Apr 17 (UNI) Pakistan today announced postponement of talks with India on the controversial Wullar barrage issue, citing clash of dates as the reason.

''We hope the postponement will not affect the schedule of the ongoing Composite Dialogue,'' Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told mediapersons here.

Ms Aslam said, ''the talks would be rescheduled shortly and are not likely to disturb the calendar of discussions on other issues.'' The two-day talks that were to start from tomorrow here, were postponed due to clash of dates and the ''preoccupation of Indian officials''.

Since 1988, Pakistan and India have had 10 rounds of talks on the Wullar Barrage, also known as Tulbul Navigation project.

Islamabad fears construction of barrage by India could interfere with the flow of Jhelum river, depriving it of 0.3 million acre feet of water and adversely affecting its agro-based economy.

Pakistan maintains that the project violates its rights as a lower riparian country granted by the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.

However, India insists the barrage would not hinder water flow into Pakistan, and has not abandoned the project saying the 20-km navigational route would facilitate navigation between Baramullah and Wullar in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Wullar barrage/Tulbul navigation project is one of the eight issues to be covered by the composite dialogue process underway between the two countries since February 2004.

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