Hague accepts Pak position in water dispute with India

HAGUE: The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has rejected India’s objections and accepted Pakistan’s position that it has competence to determine a dispute regarding India’s change of designs in the Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower plants.

Pakistan is being represented by a team of international experts assisted by the Attorney General for Pakistan, including Advocate Zohair Waheed and Advocate Ms Leena Nishter. Barrister Ahmed Irfan Aslam is acting as Pakistan’s agent in the PCA.

Now the international court will be hearing Pakistan’s claim on merit to the effect that the two projects’ designs are in breach of the Indus Water Treaty of 1961, which governs the use of waters of the Indus system of rivers.

The legal battle began in the Hague on Friday, with India claiming to have been a “responsible partner” and accusing Pakistan of impinging the treaty’s provisions. India is therefore seeking to “modify” the treaty.

In response, Pakistan has challenged India’s plans for the Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower projects on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers. Pakistan argued that the construction of these projects with India’s own designs could reduce water flow and damage irrigation in its Punjab province.

The treaty was brokered by the World Bank in 1960 to resolve water-sharing conflicts by allocating the eastern rivers (Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi) to India and the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab) to Pakistan.

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