Indus Water Treaty: World Bank expresses incapability to nominate impartial professional or Court of Arbitration

Islamabad, August 8

The World Bank has expressed its incapability to take an unbiased resolution on the appointment of a impartial professional or a Court of Arbitration for the settlement of a long-pending water dispute between India and Pakistan, saying the 2 international locations should bilaterally select one choice, a media report right here mentioned on Saturday.

India and Pakistan signed the treaty in 1960 after 9 years of negotiations, with the Washington-based World Bank being a signatory.

The treaty units out a mechanism for cooperation and knowledge change between the 2 international locations relating to their use of the rivers. However, there have been disagreements and variations between India and Pakistan over the treaty.

“Both India and Pakistan ought to come collectively as to which choice to take ahead,” Patchamuthu Illangovan, the World Bank’s former Country Director of Pakistan, was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper on completion of his five-year time period in Islamabad.

Pakistan had made a request for the appointment of a Court of Arbitration (COA) whereas India had sought a impartial professional to resolve the dispute on two hydroelectric initiatives, he mentioned.

Due to the 2 conflicting positions beneath the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, the financial institution was facilitating the 2 governments to seek out methods in resolving their variations and transfer ahead, Illangovan mentioned.

Asked if the financial institution was shying away from its function though it was a part of the treaty and had been sitting on Pakistan’s request for a COA for nearly 4 years now, he mentioned: “There is no provision in the treaty for the World Bank to take an independent decision”.

When requested about financial institution’s reluctance to fund the Diamer-Basha Dam, Illangovan mentioned that whereas the financial institution was supporting different initiatives on the Indus river like Dasu-1 and Dasu-II, India had raised objections over the Diamer-Basha’s location in a disputed space (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) and that it was not the financial institution’s coverage to finance disputed initiatives.

Pakistan had referred to as for the decision of disputes over the 330MW Kishanganga challenge on the Neelum river and 850MW Ratle Hydropower challenge on the Chenab river.

In December 2016, the financial institution “paused” the method for both appointing a COA or a impartial professional, and began mediation between the 2 international locations on how one can advance and develop consensus within the mild of the treaty on the mechanism for the decision of defective designs of the 2 initiatives.

The final spherical of bank-facilitated and secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan have been held in Washington in September 2015 which ended within the disappointment for Islamabad. Pakistan raised numerous objections over the design of the 2 initiatives on the stage of Permanent Indus Waters Commission nearly a decade in the past, adopted by secretary-level talks after which requests for arbitration by the financial institution.

Under the treaty, in case the events fail to resolve disputes by bilateral means, the aggrieved occasion has the choice to invoke the jurisdiction of the International Court of Arbitration or the impartial professional beneath the auspices of financial institution. PTI

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