PR No. 221 Islamabad: September 27, 2016
A delegation of the Government of Pakistan led by the Attorney General for Pakistan, Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali, met with senior officials of the World Bank at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, USA to discuss matters relating to Pakistan’s recent Request for Arbitration given to India pursuant to Article IX of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960.
On 19 August 2016, the Government of Pakistan formally requested the Government of India for settlement of outstanding disputes pertaining to India’s construction of Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants on rivers Neelum and Chenab respectively, by referring the matters to the Court of Arbitration as provided in Article IX of the Treaty. Under the Treaty, the World Bank has an important role in establishment of the Court of Arbitration by facilitating the process of appointment of three judges, called Umpires, to the Court, while each country appoints two arbitrators.
The Government of Pakistan met with senior Officials of the World Bank to insist on early appointment of the judges and empanelment the court. The Pakistani delegation consisted of the Attorney General for Pakistan, Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali; the Secretary, Ministry of Water & Power, Mr. Muhammad Younus Dagha; the Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters, Mirza Asif Baig; Joint Secretary (Water) in the Ministry of Water and Power; and, Mr. Ahmad Irfan Aslam, from the Office of the Attorney General. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani and World Bank’s Executive Director for Pakistan Mr. Nasir Khosa were also present.
The World Bank was represented by Senior Vice President, Ms. Anne-Marie LeRoy; Vice President for South Asia Ms. Annette Dixon; Deputy General Counsel for operations, Mr. Alberto Ninio; Chief Counsel for South Asia, Ms. Melinda Good; and, Senior Counsel for International Waterways, Mr. Victor Mosoti.
In the meeting with the Pakistani delegation, the World Bank committed itself to timely fulfilling its obligations under the treaty while remaining neutral.
The Indus Waters Treaty, 1960 was negotiated by India and Pakistan under the auspices of the World Bank after India started interfering with the waters flowing downstream by stopping waters on rivers Ravi and Sutlej from 1 April 1948. The Treaty gives India complete rights to usage of waters of the Eastern Rivers (Ravi, Chenab, and Beas) and gives Pakistan the rights over Western Rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) with limited allowance of use of water by India from the western rivers for purposes of, among others, power generation.
The Treaty provides specific design criteria for any hydro-electric power plants to be built by India. Pakistan has held the position the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants violate the design parameters of the Treaty.