Indian building of Kishenganga, Ratle power plants
The World Bank has appointmented a “neutral expert” and a chairman of the Court of Arbitration in relation to the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants, to which Pakistan and India disagree over whether the technical design features of the two plants contradict the Indus Waters Treaty.
According to a press release of the bank, Pakistan had called for the establishment of a “Court of Arbitration to consider its concerns about the designs of the two plants while India had asked for the appointment of a Neutral Expert to consider similar concerns over the two projects.”
Michel Lino has been appointed as the neutral expert and Prof Sean Murphy has been appointed as chairman of the Court of Arbitration. “They will carry out their duties in their individual capacity as subject matter experts and independently of any other appointments they may currently hold,” the statement added.
The World Bank has made the appointments “in line with its responsibilities under the Indus Waters Treaty.”
While the World Bank shares the concerns of the parties that “carrying out the two processes concurrently poses practical and legal challenges”, it also expressed confidence that the highly qualified experts “will engage in fair and careful consideration of their jurisdictional mandate, as they are empowered to do by the treaty”.
The World Bank had resumed two separate processes requested by both countries in relation to the power plants, and communicated to the two countries.
In December 2016, the bank declared a pause in those processes to allow both countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements.
Since then, the World Bank has encouraged and worked with Pakistan and India to seek an amicable resolution by convening multiple high-level meetings and discussing a variety of proposals.