Pakistan wants to solve water issues with India under IWT: Vawda

Updated 21 Nov 2018


“I am ready to sit with India to resolve water issues. But I will never compromise on our country’s water rights."— DawnNewsTV/File
“I am ready to sit with India to resolve water issues. But I will never compromise on our country’s water rights."— DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda says Pakistan wants to resolve all the water-related issues with India in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

“I am ready to sit with India to resolve these issues amicably. But I will never compromise on our country’s water rights, sovereignty and dignity. I will neither do any wrong with India nor will allow India to do the same with my country,” the minister said while responding to various questions raised by journalists during a media talk at Wapda House on Tuesday.

The question was raised in the context of India’s delay in getting its hydropower projects at Chenab and Jhelum basins inspected by Pakistani authorities during the last few months after initial willingness.

“On various occasions during the past, the situation appeared to be problematic and difficult especially at a time when both the countries were about to resolve various issues. So I don’t want to comment in a way that makes the situation problematic while resolving the water-related and other issues,” said the minister who was flanked by the Wapda chairman, retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain, Federal Secretary Shumail Khwaja and Joint Secretary Syed Mehr Ali Shah.

Speaking about water allocation and distribution issues among the provinces, he claimed that the chief ministers, his ministry and other stakeholders were on the same page. For this, he said, a sum of Rs1 billion had been arranged to install telemeters so as to end provinces’ complaints about the water share. This project, he said, was not executed by the outgoing PML-N government.

He said he and his team, within a short span of time, had removed various problems in the construction of Naulong Dam in Balochistan. “I am happy to announce that we have resolved the funding issues, paving the way for launching this project in near future,” he claimed.

He further said the issues related to Dasu, Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams were being resolved on a fast track. He said: “I wouldn’t like to keep important matters secret from the people of Pakistan; every institution including the judiciary and NAB are welcome to see and monitor what we are doing.”

He said the PTI government was reviewing the list of those honest and capable officers / bureaucrats who remained sidelined as OSDs during the five-year term of the PML-N government.

“There is an impression that N-league still dominates the bureaucracy. But I believe that there are few such bureaucrats. Still there are many honest and competent officers who spent most of time during N-league government as OSDs. We are reviewing the lists of such officers so as to appoint them at important positions,” he said.

He said his ministry had decided to convert Wapda into a corporate entity so that it could work independently.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2018