Islamabad: Pakistan has accused India and the US of being “involved in an international conspiracy to sabotage the Indus Water(s) Treaty”, reported Pakistani media.
India is “also supporting the conspiracies being hatched by Afghanistan against Pakistan”, isn’t giving any response to “Pakistan’s peace initiatives” and is, like Afghanistan, involved in a “blame game” with Islamabad as the target, said Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s new foreign minister.
In his first press conference since being appointed foreign minister, Asif also reportedly said that “Pakistan’s desire for peace and good relations with neighbours should not be construed as its weakness.”
Regarding the clauses of the Indus Waters Treaty, Asif didn’t specify how the US and India were involved in a “conspiracy to sabotage” it. All he said was that the international community has kept Pakistan in the dark about the treaty’s clauses.
Asif may have been referring to what the World Bank, not the US, said last week about two Indian dams on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers. The World Bank plays the role of guarantor of the Indus Water Treaty.
The international lending organization said that as per the clauses of the Indus Waters Treaty, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers’ tributaries with certain restrictions. Pakistan opposes the Indian construction of the Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants on these rivers.
Asif made no comment about India’s allegation that Pakistan is constructing six dams on the Indus river in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir with China’s assistance, as Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha last week. The Indian government has in fact issued demarches to both Islamabad and Beijing over the constructions stating that it is in violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Pakistan’s Asif meanwhile said they are “taken up the burning issue of stoppage of water by India into Pakistani rivers” with the World Bank. He then claimed that the issue of the construction of the Kishanganga dam “had almost been resolved by Pakistan and India about one-and-a-half years ago, but progress on it was halted due to suspension of further talks by India thrice afterwards,” reported Nation.
“Both countries want the continuity of the Indus Waters Treaty, however, any violation would worsen relations even further,” said Asif, according to The Express Tribune.
The foreign minister’s comments on “Pakistan’s peace initiatives” took aim at India as well as at Afghanistan.