Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was due to inaugurate the Kishanganga Hydroelectric project. Pakistan Rangers lit up the LoC from Jammu onwards with ceasefire violations. Resulting in eight deaths in two days. Indian BSF and Army retaliated in destroying all the bunkers along the LoC. After 9000 shells fired by BSF alone, the Pakistan Rangers pleaded for the ceasefire. India seemed to have won the war but did not realize that Pakistan Rangers aim was not the LoC but to stop PM Narendra Modi from inaugurating the Kishanganga Hydroelectric project. Having failed the Government of Pakistan has gone a step ahead to plead its case with World Bank (WB).

Pakistan will now raise the issue of India’s alleged violation of the Indus Waters Treaty with the World Bank. A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 330 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir Pakistan diplomatic circle was scrambling for cover under World Bank. Today India is not what it was when it signed the treaty. World Bank has no control over India as India does not need any financial aid from it. It has to be seen whose side World Bank would take. On the other hand, Pakistan is still in the same financial state and requires World Bank to help itself with generous loans. Lately, Pakistan is reeling under a balance of payment crisis. Indians claim that the treaty already mentions that India can get out of the treaty any day if Pakistan behaves with animosity.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry told media that a four-member delegation led by Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali is in Washington to hold talks with the president of World Bank, as reported by our freelance journalist.
He said that the issue of construction of the Kishanganga Dam will be discussed in the meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday inaugurated the Kishanganga hydroelectric power plant, amid protests from Pakistan which claims that the project on a river flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies. India is in no mood of listening to any Pakistani plea. The new Indian government is treating Pakistan as an enemy country in the same way as Pakistan treats India.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office voiced concern over the inauguration of the hydroelectric project, saying inauguration without resolution of disputes between the two countries. It said this will tantamount to violation of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 that regulates the use of waters in the shared rivers. India says the treaty is void if Pakistan continues to interfere with Indian internal matters, support insurgency, and terrorism against India.

Islamabad had been raising objections over the design of the hydel project. Pakistan says the design is not in line with the criteria laid down under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) between the two countries. But, India says the project design was well within parameters of the treaty as it does not consume any water used in the project but it only diverts it.

The project, located at Bandipore in North Kashmir, envisages diversion of water of Kishan Ganga river to underground powerhouse through a 23.25-km-long headrace tunnel to generate 1713 million units per annum.

The Kishanganga project was started in 2007 but on May 17, 2010, Pakistan moved for international arbitration against India under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty.
In 2013 Hague-based International Court of Arbitration allowed India to go ahead with construction of the project in North Kashmir and upheld India’s right to divert water under the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty to divert waters from the Kishanganga for power generation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The international court, however, decided that India will maintain a minimum flow of nine cubic meters per second into the Kishanganga river (known as Neelam in Pakistan) at all times to maintain environmental flows. This also means that Pakistan has already lost the case but is still crying for international intervention. It only wants to secure its investment in Neelam Valley project. The US and other global powers of the view that Indian construction is Indian internal matter and no one can interfere with it.

Pakistan is building a 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric project downstream. This project will become unviable if India goes ahead with their project. This is the main concern of Pakistan. India actually within its rights to divert the waters in a non-consummative manner. This cry may not be for help required in any manner but for asking financial aid as a victim for getting over with the Balance of Payment crisis which Pakistan is heading for. Already Pakistan had stopped funding of Gilgit–Baltistan and stopped compensation to people of Gilgit–Baltistan, and Balochistan to garner funds.

21 May 2018/Monday              Written by Mohd Tahir Shafi