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Pakistan not to accept alteration in Indus Waters Treaty

Updated Dec 17, 2016 07:31am

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WASHINGTON: Fearing that India is buying time to complete its two disputed water projects, Pakistan made it clear that it would not accept any modifications or changes to the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) after New Delhi said on Friday it was ready to bilaterally resolve its differences with Islamabad over the implementation of the treaty.

The treaty, signed in 1960, gives India control over the three eastern rivers of the Indus basin — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej— while Pakistan has the three western rivers— the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum.

The IWT also sets up a mechanism, the Permanent Indus Commission, which includes a commissioner from each country.

Talking to Dawn here on Friday, Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi said: “Pakistan will not accept any modifications or changes to the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. Our position is based on the principles enshrined in the treaty. And the treaty must be honoured in...letter and spirit”.

Earlier, a spokesman for the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vikas Swarup, told reporters in New Delhi that the resolution process required more time.

“India has always believed that the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty, which includes the redressal of the technical questions and differences, should be done bilaterally between India and Pakistan,’’ he said. “We believe that these consultations should be given adequate time.”

India’s request for more time, however, alarmed Pakistan. Islamabad argued that India used the same strategy on previous occasions, completing a project during the dispute and then insisting that since the project was already complete, it could not be modified.

The current dispute revolves around the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric plants. India is building the plants on the Kishanganga and Chenab Rivers, which Pakistan says violate the IWT.

Tensions over the water dispute increased late last month when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to block the flow of water into Pakistan. International experts fear that the threat, if implemented, could lead to armed clashes between the two sides.

New Delhi sought the appointment of a ‘neutral expert’ while Islamabad asked the World Bank to appoint the chairman of the Court of Arbitration. The IWT recognises the World Bank as an arbitrator.

Pakistan’s fear that India was buying time to complete the disputed projects was backed by independent experts Dawn spoke to. They noted that both sides had already completed the process proposed in the IWT and approached the World Bank only after the commission declared it “a dispute,” as required. “Dragging it through an already exhausted process will not help,” said one expert.

Pakistan was seeking a court of arbitration because only the proposed court had the authority to consider both legal and technical aspects of the dispute. A neutral expert could only consider the technical aspects.

Pakistanis argue that the designs of the two Indian projects violate both legal and technical provisions of the treaty. India, however, opposes Pakistan’s effort for setting up a court of arbitration.

The disagreement persuaded the World Bank to announce earlier this week that it was temporarily ‘pausing’ its arbitration and it was doing so to protect the treaty.

The next step was to go to the UN Secretary General who, under the treaty, has the authority to appoint a chairman for the proposed court.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2016

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Comments (46) Closed



Bk Dec 17, 2016 07:43am

Future wars will be fought for water. India and pak should come to an amicable settlement as both countries need water and energy.

teel Dec 17, 2016 07:44am

Peace or war only both side people's choice, governments would merely act on it.

madhan Dec 17, 2016 07:49am

Good luck at the UN

Sujit Dec 17, 2016 07:51am

This thinking is quite possible. Both sides need to sit and talk it out. Mistrust will take no one anywhere

Vamy Dec 17, 2016 07:53am

Please be clear? If you want treaty to stay then you have to agree on India 20 percent share.. If not we can renegotiate.

tamil Dec 17, 2016 07:57am

Entire south India is facing continuous are recurring drought situation, even Maharastra,Haryana,Andra Pradesh are not any better, PM should swiftly enact waterpipeline projects to distribute waters from Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum to all drought affected states.

Ayub Dec 17, 2016 08:03am

Going to UN would be a waste of time.

PR MAN Dec 17, 2016 08:05am

Those of you, who outright accuse Pak military of blooming the Kashmir issue just to advance its own interests, must take note of the new looming crisis, the Indus Water Treaty violation/incitement by India. Is it a real crisis manufactured by India or it is the Pak military that is dreaming of it?

Sarwar, USA. Dec 17, 2016 08:08am

Next war could be on water. India building dams on Chenab is mere violations of Indus water treaty as its water is given to Pakistan under the treaty. Pakistan needs to build more dams. It high time to start Kalabagh dam rather than highways or metros.

Ahsan Gul Dec 17, 2016 08:15am

Today, our nation feel that our leaders have not done justice. We put these people in power to protect Pakistan and our resources but they have other things to do rather than run our government efficiently. This state of affairs to draw big salaries checks for not doing anything will certainly lead Pakistan to destruction. The world is passing by Pakistan. PIA used to be an elite airline few years ago and now??? PanamaGate has baffled common Pakistanis. When we all will come to senses and rise up to make Pakistan strong and prosperous?

Haider Dec 17, 2016 08:15am

India's haughtiness will only exacerbate the possibility of a mis-calculation, a wrong step, plunging the whole region into chaos

ANT Dec 17, 2016 08:16am

The World Bank has essentially said that they are out. Consequences of Pakistan turning to China from the US. Unfortunately China if any has negative influence on India.

DP Dec 17, 2016 08:27am

All weather friend China has not accepted the verdict on south China sea! Why don't India apply the same principle?

JUSTICE Dec 17, 2016 08:55am

The top priority for UN should be to solve Indian occupied Kashmir issue if the world wants peace in that region, water treaty is the secondary issue, it would be solved automatically once Kashmir' are free.

Vasan Dec 17, 2016 09:16am

Today is not situation like 60 years ago, should have new agreement that defines new terms.

RAhul rastogi Dec 17, 2016 09:50am

@JUSTICE Than Secondary issue will remain forever. ALL THE BEST.

pankaj Dec 17, 2016 09:55am

Honouring bilateral or inteenational treaties is not mandatory only for India. If Pakistan is doing "everything"for national interest then India too should do it.

Syed raza Dec 17, 2016 10:24am

Both dumb countries always fighting.

ZAK FROM PANAMA Dec 17, 2016 10:37am

These bravado statements were really not necessary to be placed in public domain at initial stage of the proposed talks.Here we lack in smart diplomacy !

Now having said this,please stick to your stand and don't falter.In future if any compromise is made,(and there is no comfort to believe that it will not be) then it will be very embarrassing for the country.Don't chew your words afterwards!! Good Luck !!

sHYAM Dec 17, 2016 10:39am

You don`t like 80% , ok then let us divide it equally.

Nomi Dec 17, 2016 11:17am

Do it sooner than later

Yog Dec 17, 2016 11:22am

It is only a matter of time. The treaty will be scrapped.

dr SIDDIQUE Dec 17, 2016 11:29am

How India's " buying time to complete its two disputed water projects" can be stopped by making it clear through Special Assistant to PM that "any modifications or changes" to Waters Treaty will not be accepted? So Pakistan is going to dig well after the house is fully burnt? It is very difficult to understand Pakistan's diplomacy if one has to term it that way

India is ready to bilaterally resolve its differences with Islamabad over the implementation of the treaty and has sought the appointment of a ‘neutral expert’

Waheed Baloch Dec 17, 2016 11:47am

India has successfully moved the focus of kashmir to water problems, God knows what our leaders are doing.

JUSTICE Dec 17, 2016 11:49am

@RAhul rastogi Not true, once major issue is resolved, both countries will have friendly relationships, then water issue can be negotiated in peasefull environment.

Dr. Usman Dec 17, 2016 12:10pm

I am very thankful to our ancestors who fought and liberated Pakistan. Two Nation Theory is still ON.

Dr Iqbal Dec 17, 2016 12:10pm

Good move india

Logic Dec 17, 2016 12:25pm

The projects are already completed your government woke up too late.

ART KP Dec 17, 2016 12:49pm

How can one trust what India says when they change from angels to nightmares in an instant.

a Dec 17, 2016 01:05pm

@Dr. Usman

Just follow the development carefully and find out for your self how Pakistan's negotiating team because of their inept diplomacy spoil their own case. That time all the ancestors will shudder in their graves.They all are perpetually in a confused state without any accountability.

Vectra Dec 17, 2016 02:35pm

So what exactly you want to say??? You don't want current 80% share??? Fine then better agree to 50% share in IWT renegotiation with India.

Kashmiri Dec 17, 2016 03:10pm

@madhan India should let Kashmir go.

Jugvinder Dec 17, 2016 03:15pm

@sHYAM shows how thick you are due to your lack of understanding in the field of mechano-physics re: water flow. Modi must respect international law

KALIRAJA THANGAMANI Dec 17, 2016 04:40pm

We want peaceful Indian subcontinent. Water to Pakistan will not be stopped. This assurance is given by me on behalf of Indian public. It is the birth right of Pakistan people to own these rivers. India is worried on the terrorism front. Pakistan has failed to fulfill its words on this matter.

SANJAY KUMAR SINHA Dec 17, 2016 04:41pm

@Kashmiri Rather India should let Kashmiris go!

Shahid Dec 17, 2016 05:32pm

'Yak na shud, do shud'; not one but there are two now. Before there has been Kashmir alone, now flowing natural water has also joined the contension. Where there is 'will', there is way to be unjust for some.

Masood Hussain Dec 17, 2016 06:20pm

India ,as always plays the big brother consider their right to change treaties and pacts according to their whims.

Govind Dec 17, 2016 06:20pm

@KALIRAJA THANGAMANI Well said fully agreed

M.Saeed Dec 17, 2016 08:19pm

For once we must accept our mistake in this issue. We have slept on our responsibilities in not ensuring timely inspection as required under the provisions of the Water Treaty and action on all illegal construction by India on our share of rivers. Now, after the dams have been constructed since long, we are rising from slumber when nothing can be done.

Anwar Mahmood Dec 17, 2016 10:53pm

Ayub Khan and Pandit Nehru signed water sharing treaty more than five decades ago as fair water sharing agreement and Nehru came to Pakistan to congratulate on it.

Mr Nawaz Sharif has rightly spoken for the main population of Pakistan. This was the right thing done by the leaders of India and Pakistan then and was right thing to go on far beyond for ever without any changes.

Saeed Rana Dec 18, 2016 05:07am

@M.Saeed. Well said. May God help Pakistan and relieve the poor Pakistanis of the rule by incompetent, corrupt, self seeking and shameless rulers.

Pakistani Dec 18, 2016 09:28pm

& he said he meant it this time although he has no idea what the Indus Waters Treaty is

vorshal Dec 19, 2016 04:10am

@Anwar Mahmood -- Alright with that principle. What is then wrong with the Simla Accord?!

vorshal Dec 19, 2016 04:19am

@Kashmiri - What makes you say that? You are not the only Kashmiri. I won't accept it.

Rah Dec 19, 2016 06:28am

in those 70 years, world have changed and so as India and Pakistan. The population of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Hariyana and Rajastan has increased more than 1200% and therefore their basic need for water is also increased. We cannot allow such a massive population to dry out without water. We should made the treaty more appropriate as per today's situation.

DK PAMNANI Dec 19, 2016 03:08pm

Pt.Nehru and Mr. Ayub Khan signed the treaty. That was long long ago. It has to be renewed considering the present situations.