WASHINGTON: Islamabad has asked the World Bank to schedule a meeting with a Pakistani team in Washington later this month for talks on water dispute with India, official sources told Dawn on Wednesday.
Early this month, Pakistan asked the World Bank to address its concerns over India’s two hydropower projects — the 330-megawatt Kishanganga and 850MW Ratle plants. Islamabad believes that both plants violate the Indus Water Treaty that distributes water of Indus River and its tributaries between India and Pakistan.
The Kishanganga plant is on the Neelum River and Ratle is on the Chenab and the treaty gives Pakistan exclusive rights over both. The treaty, however, also gives India the right to build hydropower plants over these tributaries if they do not violate specifications included in the agreement.
Pakistan complains that both plants violate specifications and also that India has completed the Kishanganga plant despite a World Bank pause on such constructions, enforced in December 2016.
While confirming to Dawn that it has received Pakistan’s complaint, a World Bank spokesperson said earlier this week it’s working with both Islamabad and New Delhi for an amicable resolution to the dispute. This week, the bank sent its envoy, Ian Solomon, to India to familiarise itself with the Indian position on this issue. Last week, Pakistan’s Adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail met Managing Director of World Bank Kristalina Georgieva in Washington and urged her to help resolve the dispute.
Since the meeting also covered other issues, Pakistan has now asked the bank to schedule an exclusive meeting on the water dispute, in Washington, to enable Pakistani experts to explain Islamabad’s views on this issue.
Mr Solomon, who was appointed a World Bank envoy in December 2016 for talks with both India and Pakistan on the water dispute, may also visit Islamabad soon.
Since December 2016, the World Bank has arranged two rounds of talks between India and Pakistan but failed to stop the Indian authorities from continuing to build the plants.