ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The World Bank has assured Pakistan that it would make utmost efforts to resolve the Kishenganga (KHEP) and Ratle (RHEP) within the parameters of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
The assurance was given by the CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgivaand to the Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali when the latter led Pakistan’s delegation to the World Bank for a two days meeting to discuss the issues related to KHEP and RHEP Hydroelectric projects under the Indus Waters Treaty, the Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at his weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Friday.
Dr Faisal said that detailed discussions were held with the CEO of the World Bank and her legal and technical teams.
The attorney general, according to Dr Faisal, reminded the Bank of its obligations and emphasized the need to abide by its commitments. The delegation stressed the need to revisit the design and impact of KHEP. He also urged the US government to actively support the Bank in resolving the KHEP and RHEP within the ambit of the Treaty.
The attorney general regretted Indian attempts to make the Indus Waters Treaty dysfunctional and the inauguration of the KHEP by India, in flagrant disregard of the commitments of the government of India to the World Bank and in utter violation of the Treaty.
Ashtar Ausaf, according to the Foreign Office Spokesman, emphasized that the waters of the Indus and its tributaries were the lifeline of more than 200 million people of Pakistan. He said that it was not just an issue of water but a definite human rights issue.
The attorney general said that the Indian attempts to disempower the IWT had gravely damaged the environment and climate of Pakistan. The agriculture of the country, which is its backbone, is also being adversely affected.
Ashtar Ausaf told the World Bank CEO that Pakistan is gravely concerned at the inauguration of the Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project (KHEP), and believes that the inauguration of the project without the resolution of the dispute is a violation of the Indus Waters Treaty. He said that despite several rounds of bilateral negotiations as well as mediation under the auspices of the World Bank, India continued with the construction of the project. This intransigence by India has made the Treaty dysfunctional, he remarked.
The attorney general urged the World Bank to raise this violation of the IWT with India and bring an end to the impasse. He also reiterated that as the custodian of the Treaty, the World Bank should urge India to address Pakistan’s reservations on Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project (KHEP).