Pakistan Approaches World Bank Over Indus Water Treaty

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New Delhi: Pakistan on Tuesday approached the International Court of Justice amid reports that India is reviewing the Indus Waters Treaty, which regulates the flow of six rivers between the two countries.Senior Pakistani officials have also taken it up with the World Bank, which brokered the 1960 agreement between the neighbours.

A delegation led by Pakistan’s top lawyer, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali, met senior officials of the World Bank in Washington, said Geo News.

Sartaz Aziz, the foreign policy adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has said that if India revokes the treaty, it will be treated as “an act of war or a hostile act against Pakistan”.

“It’s highly irresponsible on part of India to even consider revocation of the Indus Water Treaty,” Mr Aziz told the national assembly on Tuesday.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met top officials to review the treaty as India debates tough steps against Pakistan after the September 18 attack in Kashmir’s Uri, in which 18 soldiers were killed. “Blood and water can’t flow together,” the PM said at that meeting.

Sources say one retaliatory move being considered by the government is for India to “maximise” the use of water from the rivers that flow into Pakistan – Chenab, Jhelum and Indus. This will impact Pakistan as it depends on snow-fed Himalayan rivers for everything from drinking water to agriculture.

Reports say Pakistan had asked India on August 19 to settle “outstanding disputes pertaining to India’s construction of hydroelectric plants” on two of the rivers governed by it.

Pakistani officials, in their meeting at the World Bank, reportedly insisted on the early appointment of judges for a Court of Arbitration. Under the Indus treaty, the World Bank has an important role in establishing the Court of Arbitration by facilitating appointment of three judges, called Umpires, to the Court, while each country appoints two arbitrators.

The Indus Waters Treaty gives India rights to use the eastern rivers – Ravi, Chenab, and Beas – and Pakistan has rights over the western rivers.

In a series of moves to isolate Pakistan, India has pulled out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad and PM Modi has also called for a deliberation on Thursday of whether to downgrade the country’s status as a trading partner.

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