Islamabad: The Asian Development Bank has refused to fund the $14 billion dam project that Pakistan has planned on the Indus river in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The World Bank too had declined to fund the project two years ago following Islamabad’s refusal to seek a ‘No objection’ from India.
“We did not really make any commitment. This is a very big project,” Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Takehiko Nakao said on Wednesday at a joint news conference with Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the conclusion of the 15th ministerial meeting of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme.
Pakistan has been pushing for the mega project on the Indus river in Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir citing its energy and irrigation requirements. The project aims to generate a power output of 4,500 MW. Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that the Asian Development Bank might consider financing of the project at a later date.
Quoting Mr Nakao – the president of the Asian Development Bank, Dawn reported that the reason for not committing to the project was because “it needs big money.” Mr Nakao also said that “presently the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was conducting a feasibility study on the dam.”
Islamabad has consistently failed to attract foreign lenders for the project in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Repeated efforts to rope in the World Bank as a co-lender had failed two years ago when the government declined to seek a No objection Certificate from India for the project.
The Asian Development Bank chief also cautioned Pakistan to wisely implement projects under the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), another strategic project opposed by India as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and utilise their funds well so as to avoid debt or repayment problems.