World Bank takes a new initiative over Pakistan India dispute

World Bank takes a new initiative over Pakistan India dispute

UNITED NATIONS: The World Bank is finalising a fresh initiative to resolve dispute over the India's construction of the Kishan Ganga and Ratle projects, saying the multilateral lender would soon contact Pakistan and India, WB chief Jim Young Kim has said.

Kim said this during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, after the latter presented his government's position on these projects in "a forceful and emphatic manner", according to an official statement.

The focus of the meeting was the World Bank's role in implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan as its administrator.

The foreign minister said Indian construction of the Kishan Ganga and Ratle projects was a violation of the 1960 treaty, which gave Pakistan exclusive rights to western rivers.

He emphasised that the procedural delay on Pakistan's request to the World Bank to empanel the Court of Arbitration had resulted in completion of the Kishan Ganga project while construction work on Ratle was in progress.

Qureshi said that the new government viewed this as a humanitarian issue with lives and livelihood of millions at stake, adding that it was not interested in politicising the issue.

The World Bank president said that he understood Pakistan's position on the treaty, however, expressed the bank's desire to play a constructive role in resolving this important matter at the earliest.

In this context, he remarked, with the ongoing challenge of climate change, water issues were likely to be more prominent on the international agenda.

"He indicated that the World Bank was in the process of finalising a fresh initiative and would soon be approaching Pakistan and India with details," the statement added.

The meeting was held in a cordial environment, wherein it was decided that regular contacts would be maintained at various levels for an early and amicable settlement to the issue.