India’s construction of controversial dams
Zahid Chaudhary/Muhammad Arshad
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday took up the issue of construction of new dams by India with CEO World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, which he contended was sheer violation of the Indus Waters Treaty.
The prime minister, in his meeting with a World Bank delegation led by its CEO Kristalina Georgieva said that construction of dams by India on western rivers is tantamount to openly disregarding the Indus Waters Treaty.
“Construction of Ratle and Kishenganga dams by India is a violation of the treaty,” he said.
Nawaz said that given the fact that the World Bank guarantor of the agreement, it should play its due role to help resolve the issue. He expressed hope that the World Bank will nominate a court of arbitration in this regard.
The prime minister thanked the financial institution for its $75 million aid for the return of temporarily displaced persons (TDPs). He added that Pakistan will continue its reforms in various fields.
On the occasion, the World Bank CEO acknowledged Pakistan’s remarkable successes in achieving economic stability, in energy and infrastructure.
“The betterment and positive changes in Pakistan are evident,” said Kristalina Georgieva, adding that she felt pleased to have seen Tarbela Dam’s expansion plan.
“Pakistan is right place for investment,” she added.
Pakistan and India share the waters of Indus River Basin which has been a major source of contention between the two states since independence.
In order to resolve the disputes, both countries signed IWT in 1960 with the help of World Bank which has survived over five decades of hostilities between the two states.
The CEO of World Bank said, the Bank would help in finding solution to the issues surrounding the Indus Water Treaty existing between the two neighboring countries.
She also said, the bank would continue to assist Pakistan with consideration of a bigger package including the IDA, IBRD, Refugees/Crisis modalities keeping in view the momentum in growth and economic progress in Pakistan.
In this regard she held a meeting with The Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and she said that they understood the significance of the Indus Water Treaty and the Bank’s prior involvement in being co-signatory to the Treaty. She stated that the Treaty would be a stepping stone to maintaining communications and good relations between two countries.
The Finance Minster informed the delegation about the economic progress in the country, due to which Pakistan has become “IBRD qualified”. All macro-economic indicators conveyed that Pakistan was on a rising growth trajectory.
He requested for 50% increase in IDA allocation for Pakistan as the current project profile in infrastructure, energy, social protection and regional connectivity projects was almost exhausted, from the IDA-17 pipeline.
Clarifying the private sector involvement in CPEC projects, he stated that out of US $ 46 billion, over US $ 30 billion was meant for private sector investment whereas the rest was for public sector financing in infrastructure including highways, energy sector and railways.
He informed that IFC participation in private sector projects was to be complemented by the Government to the extent of 20% equity. IFC was to develop Business Plans for such project financing and they would be not lagging behind, but the lead was to be taken by them.
Regarding the issue concerning placement of NEPRA under the Ministry of Water & Power, it was conveyed that this was done only for administrative reasons, there are no fundamental changes and no rules were being altered.
The Minister also spoke of importance of the Diamer Bhasa Dam and requested the Bank’s for providing assistance for its development as it will help in reducing the energy gap in a big way besides fulfilling agriculture needs.