IWT — Kishanganga arbitration
In The Hague, International Court of Arbitration completed hearing on Indus Waters Kishanganga arbitration, which was initiated by Pakistan, and the verdict is expected within a period of six months. On 16th October 2012, arbitration team had visited the site at Gurez to see that India is implementing the order in letter and in spirit.
Earlier, on 24th September 2011 the Netherlands-based Court of Arbitration had accepted Islamabad’s application for a stay-order on the Kishanganga Dam and ruled that, until a final settlement between India and Pakistan is reached, New Delhi will not be allowed to resume construction. The court order had stated: “India shall not proceed with the construction of any permanent works on or above the Kishanganga/Neelum River bed at the Gurez site that may inhibit the restoration of the flow of the river to its natural channel. Pakistan and India shall arrange for periodic joint inspections of the dam site at Gurez in order to monitor the implementation of the court’s order.” The Indus River Basin has been an area of conflict between India and Pakistan for over four decades. Pakistan had taken the issues of Baglihar dam and Kishanganga dam to the World Bank for arbitration, but arbitrators made half-hearted efforts to resolve the issue and sought minor adjustments from India to appease her. Now India balks at debate with Pakistan over the most controversial Wullar Barrage, also known as the Tulbul Projects, which will divert the Jhelum River’s water. Meanwhile, the World Bank’s arbitration court has issued an order allowing a Pakistani delegation to inspect the site of the Kishanganga Dam. Not only this, the court has also allowed Pakistani delegation to visit Wuller Barrage and Tulbul navigation projects. This permission has been granted on Pakistan’s plea that illegal construction activity was going on despite the stay order issued by the arbitration court on 1st September. On every complaint from Pakistan, arbitrators of the World Bank expressed its resolve to implement Indus Water Treaty in letter and spirit, but later they dithered.
According to a press report in August 2012, the World Bank offered funding to induce Pakistan to take up the Dasu power project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and delay for 10 years Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan. The World Bank has so far been reluctant to commit funds for the $12 billion Diamer-Bhasha project apparently because of behind-the-scenes opposition from India. The project promises 4,500MW of cheap electricity and 8.5 million acre feet (MAF) of water. Senator Zahid Khan of Awami National Party who presided over the meeting provided the information about the WB offer. He seems inclined to support it apparently because it promised royalty on power generation and water use charges for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa unlike Diamer-Bhasha which required sharing revenues with Gilgit-Baltistan. This is unfair on the part of the World Bank. WAPDa Chairman Shakil Durrani said: “Government’s priority is Bhasha dam, and not Dasu project, and the World Bank is not responsible for making policies in Pakistan. We have made it clear to all donors that Pakistan will not give preference to Dasu over Bhasha”.
Reportedly, India has been instrumental in stirring opposition to the Kalabagh Dam and spent billion of rupees on propaganda, and by giving ‘incentives’ to the nationalists. This is the reason the Sindh and Khayber-Pakhtunkhwa opposed Kalabagh Dam. In report/book titled ‘Pakistan’s Provinces’ written by think-tank of India under the name and style of Strategic Foresight Group, in which authors have dealt with the research and analysis of internal dynamics of each province. The book was published in 2004 when composite dialogue between India and Pakistan had started. Anyhow, the malafide intentions behind the so-called free intellectual enquiry are obvious by glancing through the preface of the book, which reads: “In 2004, political discourse is increasingly references to the 1971 situation. It does not mean that provinces will secede in 2004 or 2005, yet it remains to be seen whether they will be together until 2010.”
Of course, the authors had drawn a gloomy picture and had presaged that Pakistan will disintegrate by 2010, which did not happen; and God willing it will never disintegrate. But India does not let any opportunity go to weaken and destabilize Pakistan. Apart from Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh are victims of India’s water thievery. India has dispute with Bangladesh over Farrakha Barrage and with Nepal over Mahakali River. India is busy building dams on all rivers flowing into Pakistan from occupied Kashmir to regain control of water of western rivers in violation of Indus Treaty. This is being done under well thought-out strategy to render Pakistan’s link-canal system redundant, destroy agriculture of Pakistan which is its mainstay and turn Pakistan into a desert. India has plans to construct 62 dams/hydro-electric units on Rivers Chenab and Jhelum thus enabling it to render these rivers dry by 2014. Using its clout in Afghanistan, India succeeded in convincing Karzai regime to build a dam on River Kabul and set up Kama Hydroelectric Project using 0.5MAF of Pakistan water.
On 2nd January 2010, responding to media queries after a seminar on ‘Improvement in Power Sector’ held under the auspices of Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers of Pakistan, then Prime Minister’s Adviser on Education Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali had said that Pakistan might seek international arbitration on the water issue or take up it with the International Court of justice (ICJ), if Pakistan finds India not sincere and serious enough in resolving the issue. The government functionaries and advisors have the habit of issuing warnings that they will take up the matter with the World Bank or International Court of Justice. They always criticize their predecessors and previous governments for procrastination, but the present ruling and opposition parties remained preoccupied in internecine conflict, and meanwhile India went ahead with the completion of Kishanganga project. They should realize that it is a matter of life death for the nation, and find some time to dwell on the subject of protecting national interests.