ISLAMABAD - The new PTI government would knock again at the door of the World Bank regarding Indian government’s violation of the Indus Water Treaty 1960 and demand setting up a ‘court of arbitration’ to settle the water disputes between the two countries.
India and Pakistan are disputing the construction of 330MW Kishenganga and 850MWs of Ratle hydropower projects being built by Indian on River Jehlum and River Chenab respectively where Pakistan has right of unrestricted use under the treaty.
Pakistan has severely objected to the designs of these controversial projects and Islamabad has been requesting the Bank for the constitution of court of arbitration since long, while India is asking for appointment of a neutral expert to look into the issue.
“A new government is coming into power in Pakistan, while China, Russia and Turkey are also acknowledging that water is the major issue of Pakistan, so the World Bank must set up a court of arbitration,” caretaker Federal Minister for Water resources Syed Ali Zafar said on Monday while responding to a question of media that the World Bank is not responding positively since the Indian lobby is strong and its official are sitting on the top posts of the Bank.
The minister also presented a 10-point guideline for the development of water sector which the minister said have been formulated after taking opinions from water experts and other stakeholders.
As climate change is haunting the country and the cropping pattern is changing, while the annual water availability of 138MAF could also change, construction of dams is very much necessary.
These guidelines suggest developing consensus on construction of the Kalabagh Dam. Besides, work on construction of Diamer-Basha having water storage capacity of 11.7MAF and Mohmand Dam with 0.75MAF should be expedited. Similarly, government should also focus on construction of small dams and reservoirs.
At the time of the Indus Water Treaty in 1960, Pakistan had planned to construct eight dams and 400 reservoirs and run of river projects, as it was getting 138 million acres feet (MAF) of water annually. But, since then, it has built only Tarbela and Mangla dams which have 6.43MAF and 7.4MAF water storage capacities respectively.
The remaining huge amount of water goes into sea untapped. India has built dozens of dams and canals and other reservoirs during this period.