Pak plans to approach World Bank over Kishanganga project: report


A neutral expert appointed by the World Bank is a "top most priority" for Pakistan after it received a "discouraging response while exercising bilateral channels" to address differences over the project being built in Jammu and Kashmir, 'The News' daily quoted its sources as saying. The sources claimed the project would divert the river Jhelum's waters.

The process of the Permanent Indus Waters Commission appointing two negotiators from each side had proved to be "time buying moves of India," the sources alleged. It would be "futile" for Pakistan to opt for the court of arbitration comprising two nominees from each country and three other experts as the country can "ill afford to give more and more time" to India to go ahead with the project, they said.

The paper also quoted Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit as saying that "we are examining the possibility of invoking the option of (appointing a) neutral expert instead of the court of arbitration." He said the Pakistan government is working on the issue with experts on an urgent basis as "India was wasting time."

The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 provides for the appointment of a neutral expert by the World Bank as a last option to resolve water-related disputes between India and Pakistan. Since last year, Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of diverting its share of river waters but the charges have been dismissed by New Delhi.

"We do not believe that India will agree within one month to nominate its members for the court of arbitration. This is too serious a matter and Pakistan cannot afford to sit back and allow India to continue violating the Indus Waters Treaty," Basit said. He did not give the timeframe for approaching the World Bank for appointing the neutral expert.

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