Pak-India Indus Water Treaty Talks APBF asks govt to oppose Indian dams in held Kashmir
The As the India has accepted Pakistan invitation to attend Indus Water Treaty dispute talks in Lahore, the All Pakistan Business Forum has asked the government to warn the Indian Commissioner of its fast-tracked hydropower projects worth $15 billion in Occupied Kashmir, disrupting water supplies to Pakistan.
It is good that the Indian Commissioner of the Permanent Indus Commission has accepted his Pakistani counterpart’s invitation for talks on the Indus Waters Treaty scheduled to be held in Pakistan. And it is the time for Pakistan to raise the issue of dams’ construction by the Indian government, depriving Pakistan of its due share of water, observed APBF Presidnet Ibrahim Qureshi.
It seems that finally India has realized the importance of this mechanism under the Indus Waters Treaty for resolving water disputes related to the Indus water and its tributaries.
He said that six hydro projects in held Kashmir either cleared viability tests or the more advanced environment and forest expert approvals in the last few months. Together these projects on the Chenab River, would triple hydropower generation in Occupied Kashmir from the current level of 3,000 MW.
The Permanent Indus Commission is a bipartisan body entrusted with everyday implementation of the World Bank-brokered Indus Waters Treaty that was signed in 1960.
The Commission, which is mandated to meet at least once every year, alternately in India and Pakistan, comprises Indus Commissioners from both sides and discusses technical matters related to the implementation of the Treaty. It has met 112 times since 1960.
Ibrahim Qureshi said that the upcoming meeting on the treaty should raise concern over the Kishenganga of 330 MW and Ratle of 850 MW hydroelectric power plants, being built by India on the Kishenganga and Chenab rivers, respectively.
Ibrahim Qureshi said that this is an opportunity for the two countries to begin to resolve the issue in an amicable manner and in line with the spirit of the Treaty rather than pursuing concurrent processes that could make the treaty unworkable.
He said that India has fast-tracked hydropower projects of around $15 billion in Occupied Kashmir, ignoring warnings from Islamabad that power stations on rivers, flowing into Pakistan, will disrupt water supply.
Ibrahim Qureshi urged Pakistan to oppose these projects, as they violate the World Bank treaty on the sharing of the Indus River and its tributaries upon which 80 percent of Pakistan irrigated agriculture depends.
Ibrahim Qureshi said that Pakistan’s water supply is also dwindling because of climate change, outdated farming techniques and an exploding population. He said New Delhi could use these projects as a way to control Pakistan’s supplies from the Indus, seen as its jugular vein.
The cumulative effect of these projects could give India the ability to store enough water to limit the supply to Pakistan at crucial moments in the growing season, he said.
APBF president said that environmental groups have also questioned whether the Indian government has followed proper procedures in fast-tracking projects located in a highly seismic area.
The projects that have won technical approvals in recently are Sawalkote, Kwar, Pakal Dul, Bursar and Kirthai I and II.
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