ISLAMABAD: The International Court of Arbitration (ICA) has barred India from any permanent works on the controversial Kishanganga hydro-electricity project (KHEP) on River Neelum at Gurez in occupied Kashmir in response to Pakistan’s appeal for ‘interim measures’ against the dam which may inhibit the restoration of the river flow to its natural channel, the government announced on Saturday.
The arbitration court took the decision on an appeal filed by Pakistan that India was diverting the flow of the river and violating Indus Water Treaty (IWT) between the two countries, said Farhatullah Babar, spokesman for President Asif Ali Zardari, on Saturday.
The court of arbitration passed a unanimous order on Pakistan’s application for ‘interim measures’ against the construction of the Kishanganga dam.
The court order said: “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.”
Islamabad had submitted its version in the World Bank’s arbitration court in July. The major contention was that under the law India cannot divert the route of River Neelum. Pakistan fears that the Kishanganga dam would rob it of 15 per cent water share – a violation of the Indus Water Treaty.
Islamabad accused Delhi of trying to divert the water of Neelum river in order to harm Pakistan’s Neelum-Jhelum hydro-electricity project.
In its application Pakistan had sought: “A stop work order; An order that any steps India has taken or may take in respect of the KHEP are taken at its own risk without prejudice to the possibility that the court may order that the works may not be continued, be modified or dismantled, that India be ordered to inform the court and Pakistan of any imminent and actual developments on the Kishanganga Dam that may adversely affect the restoring of the status quo ante or that may jeopardise Pakistan’s rights and interests under the treaty; Any further relief the court considered necessary.”
The president’s spokesman said the office of the special assistant to the prime minister on water resources and agriculture, the team of legal experts from Pakistan and abroad who prepared a tremendous case, NESPAK and PCIW of the ministry of water and power attended the hearing at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague.