IWT Row: Pak Urges World BankTo Fulfill Obligations

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked the World Bank to fulfill its obligations under the Indus Waters Treaty under which no party can stop it from playing its due role.

Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar wrote a letter on Friday to the President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, in response to its decision to pause the process of empanelment of the Court of Arbitration.

The World Bank had announced a pause in the separate processes initiated by India and Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty to allow the two countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements.

The decision halted the appointment of a neutral expert as requested by India and the chairman of the Court of Arbitration as requested by Pakistan to resolve issues regarding two hydroelectric power plants under construction by India along the Indus rivers system.

In his letter written in response to an earlier one by the World Bank head, the finance minister emphasised that the decision of the institution would seriously prejudice Pakistan’s interests and rights under the Indus Waters Treaty (1960).

The letter has been sent with approval of all concerned stakeholders and strongly conveyed that the matter of appointment of a chairman of the Court of Arbitration had been inordinately delayed.

The finance minister urged the World Bank to execute its obligations under the treaty as the chosen appointing authority and appoint the chairman expeditiously.

Dar noted that the pause proposed by the World Bank chief would merely prevent Pakistan from approaching a competent forum and having its grievances addressed.

The letter mentioned that the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 did not provide for a situation wherein a party could pause performance of its obligations under the treaty.

The finance minister said that the letter of December 12, 2016 by the World Bank was a shift from its earlier position, in which it was stated, “The Bank’s role is limited in character and relates only to the exercise of procedural functions which do not touch upon the factual or legal merits of the contested issues.”

He emphasised that as acknowledged by the World Bank, it has a well-defined role which should remain consistent with the provisions of the treaty.

 

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