Kh Asif rejects India proposal to discuss Ratle project
On the first day of 113th meeting of Permanent Indus Commission between Pakistan and India held here on Monday Pakistani delegation was headed by Water Commissioner Mirza Asif Saeed while India’s Indus Water Commissioner P-K Saena led the Indian delegation.
The meeting discussed the design aspects of Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants, flood data supply by India and programme of tours of inspection and meetings by Pakistan and India to the sites of their interest in the Indus basin.
The Indus Water Commission was set up following the Indus Waters Treaty signed by the Pakistan and India in 1960 after the World Bank succeeded in getting them reach an agreement on a water-sharing formula.
The commission has to meet at least once every year, alternately in India and Pakistan, and is responsible for the implementation of the treaty.
The meeting is taking place after almost two years break. Earlier, these talks were held in May 2015. Despite various media statements causing speculations, Pakistan showed restraint and kept on making efforts for resumption of Commission level talks.
Earlier on Monday federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif expressed the hope that things will move in the positive direction as a result of meeting between Permanent Indus Commissioners of Pakistan and India.
Addressing a news conference he said outstanding problems relating to Indus Basin will be discussed during the two day meeting.
Dialogue relating to Indus Waters Treaty was suspended in 2015 and now taking place almost after two years break, he added. Pakistan has welcomed the readiness of India for talks at Indus Water Commissioners level stated Asif.
It is Pakistan’s consistent stand that the Indus Waters Treaty is one of world agreements which provides amicable solution of serious water issues between the two countries, said Asif.
He further said that Secretary level talks on Ratle hydroelectric plant will begin on 11th, 12th and 13th of April in Washington.
To a question, he said Pakistan is pressing for implementation of arbitration court’s decision on Kishanganga.
“ We want India to share designs of the three projects (hydroelectric plants) with Pakistan because it is our right to raise objections to the projects if they are damaging our interests,” he said while responding to a question,” said Asif.
The minister added, however, that Pakistan has successfully defended its stand as per the IWT and, “Pakistan’s position on the Ratle project is very strong.”
Asif also announced in the press conference that the Neelum-Jhelum project would become operational in March 2018.