ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has made it clear that India cannot unilaterally revoke or alter the Indus Waters Treaty.

“The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is not time-barred and was never intended to be time- or event-specific. It is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision,” Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakria said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

He called upon the international community to take note of Indian claims as they were a violation of New Delhi’s obligations and commitments under the treaty. According to the sub-provisions (3) and (4) of Article XII of the IWT, the treaty cannot be altered or revoked unilaterally, he pointed out.

See: Indus Waters Treaty rides out latest crisis

The remarks came days after the reported decision of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to suspend the Indus water commission talks. At a recent high-level meeting, Modi had been told by water management experts that India could not afford to walk out of and abrogate the 56-year-old treaty and that it would be interpreted as a declaration of war.

The FO spokesman did not offer any comment when asked to analyse the timing of China’s decision to block a tributary of the Brahmaputra river in Tibet for a hydroelectric project. “We have seen media reports. You may like to approach the government of China to ascertain details.”

In reply to a question about reports that Indian media was preparing doctored videos of the so-called ‘surgical strikes’ New Delhi claimed to have carried out across the Line of Control last week, he said the baseless Indian claim had been rejected by Pakistan. “Falsified and irresponsible statements can only escalate tensions and are indeed a threat to regional peace and security, which India sought to create on purpose,” he warned.

Mr Zakaria referred to voices within India questioning sketchy and vague claims of the Indian government and seeking evidence of surgical strikes.

He recalled that the ISPR had taken media teams to the area to see the situation.

He said the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) had also visited the area and found nothing in support of the Indian claim.

The FO spokesman deplored the detention of All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani despite his poor health. His house has been converted into a sub-jail. “We are deeply concerned about the health of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, who has developed life-threatening heart problems due to inhuman treatment meted out to him during his illegal detention.”

He urged the international community, particularly prominent human rights organisations, to take notice of the genocide and crimes against humanity being committed by Indian forces in held Kashmir, help stop the bloodshed and human rights violations and make arrangements for supply of food, medicines and other basic items to halt the humanitarian catastrophe.

India-backed petition

Commenting on the rejection by the White House of an India-backed petition seeking to declare Pakistan a terrorist state, the FO spokesman said: “We understand that such moves are based on the views and personal motives of individuals. In this particular case, it was a malicious move by some members of the Indian-American community, and does not in any way reflect the policy or views of either the US administration or the Congress. Obviously, the White House saw through the real motivation behind this move and acted rightly in rejecting the petition.”

He said Pakistan had already raised the issue of financing of terror groups in Pakistan by India at all forums. “We will hand over the evidence when the time is propitious.”

Mr Zakaria refused to confirm or deny reports that the national security advisers of Pakistan and India had discussed over phone proposals to de-escalate tension. He advised the questioner to raise it with ‘relevant authorities’.

About India’s decision not to invite Pakistan to sports events, including the Kabaddi World Cup, he said: “We are disappointed to see such an approach which reflects the level of anti-Pakistan rhetoric in India.”

He expressed his inability to confirm if Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had expressed a desire that his country be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. “I have seen media reports, but can’t confirm. I need to check this. CPEC has apparently evinced interest from some countries as it is an economic development initiative.”

Asked to explain the background of a statement by the Foreign Office about a new US law that allows families of the 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, he said Pakistan was concerned at the adoption of a domestic law which has an extra-territorial application.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2016



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