Pakistan-India to sit together in Lahore on March 20

LAHORE: Pakistan has formally conveyed a message about a two-day meeting of the Indus Waters Commission scheduled to start from March 20 to India to discuss the bilateral water issues, officials said on Tuesday.

“We are expecting a confirmation from the Indian Indus Waters Commission today (Tuesday),” a senior official told The News. The official added that the Indian delegation, led by its Indus Waters Commissioner, is expected to arrive in Lahore on March 19 for the two-day talks on various aspects of the Indus Waters Treaty and will leave on March 22. 

The annual meeting of Indian and Pakistani delegations is mandatory at least once in a year. However, it could not be held for around one-and-half year in the wake of a terrorist attack in Uri in held Kashmir.

It is expected that around 10-member delegation from the Indian side will take part during the meeting of the permanent Indus Commission. 

On the meeting agenda, the official said there will be a discussion on the hydropower projects, such as Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar, which are being built by India on the Chenab River.

Pakistan has raised objections over the designs and other features of the projects. However, these issues could not be discussed earlier owing to a lack of regular meetings, he added. “Now, we plan to raise these objections in detail.”

There will also be a discussion on the modalities of a proposed visit to the site of Kishanganga hydropower project. The official said visits are important because they help in getting on-the-ground information about the physical progress of a certain project as per its design. 

However, there will be no discussion on Ratle and Kishanganga hydropower projects being constructed in the held Kashmir in violation of Indus Waters Treaty, added the official. Pakistan has already lodged its protest over the two power projects with the World Bank, but these cases would separately be pursued.