FM Qureshi discusses India's construction of dams with World Bank president

Updated September 25, 2018

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets with the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.  — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets with the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. — Photo courtesy PTI official Twitter

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The focus of the meeting was on implementing the World Bank's role as the administrator of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), Radio Pakistan reported.

During the meeting, the foreign minister asked the World Bank to "empanel the Court of Arbitration over [the] illegal construction of dams by India on western rivers", the report added.

According to the state broadcaster, he told the WB president that India's construction of the Kishanganga and Ratle dams represents a violation of the IWT.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Qureshi said that while speaking to WB President Jim Yong Kim he had asked that Pakistan's request pertaining to Annexure G, Paragraph 11 of the IWT should be focused on.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan and India were unable to resolve the issue bilaterally and the World Bank president had promised to make one more attempt.

"I heard his point of view and he has promised that he will make one more attempt [at this issue]," said FM Qureshi.

FM Qureshi said that the new Pakistani government "views this as a humanitarian issue with the lives and livelihoods of millions at stake," Radio Pakistan reported.

During the meeting, Qureshi "emphasised" that the "procedural delay" in Pakistan's request to the WB had resulted in completion of the Kishanganga project while construction was underway on Ratle dam, the report added.

In April, the WB had confirmed that it had received Pakistan’s complaint on the completion of the Kishanganga hydropower plant by India and was working with Islamabad and New Delhi for an amicable resolution of the dispute.

Pakistan complained that India had violated a World Bank-mandated pause, placed in 2016, by completing the controversial Kishanganga project.

According to the Radio Pakistan report, the WB president understood Pakistan's position on the Indus Waters Treaty and desires to play a constructive role in resolving this important matter at the earliest.

The report said Qureshi indicated that the WB was in the "process of finalising a fresh initiative" for which it would soon approach India and Pakistan with details.