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'Baglihar work to be suspended'
April 21, 2005 21:09 IST
Pakistan will withdraw its case from the Word Bank and India will suspend construction of the controversial Baglihar Dam as soon as the Indo-Pak Joint Committee on Useable Water Resources is formed, reports the South Asia Tribune quoting senior Communist Party leader Shamim Faizi.
According to the article, 'The two countries have also reached an understanding on the Iran-Pakistan-India Gas pipeline being viciously opposed by the United States.'
Let WB decide on Baglihar: Musharraf
Though Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed the suspension of work at the dam in detail during the former's visit to Delhi, 'the two sides decided to keep this matter under the wraps at this juncture. It was thus not included in the Joint Statement issued at the end of the Musharraf visit,' it says.
'While Dr. Manmohan Singh was concerned about the reaction of the Opposition in India, Musharraf was of the view that if the Joint Statement talked about Pakistan withdrawing its case from the World Bank, the elements opposed to the India-Pakistan peace process in Pakistan would get a new issue. Therefore it was mutually agreed to keep the issue on the side.'
India ready for technical talks on Baglihar
But "both the sides have reached an understanding on this issue. As soon as the Joint Committee is formed, Pakistan would withdraw its case from the World Bank and India would suspend construction work on the site," Shamim Faizi was quoted as saying.
"But the Joint Committee will not be formed in the name of Baglihar Dam or only on that issue. The Joint Committee would be formed for the inspection of all useable water resources in Kashmir, but it will look into the Baglihar issue as well," he added.
Musharraf's new approach
The article goes on to assert that 'In fact the two countries have already named their high-powered committees to discuss the issue bilaterally.
'Musharraf has named his Chief of Staff Lt Gen Hamid Javed, Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, Foreign Secretary Riaz Muhammad Khan, High Commissioner to India Aziz Ahmad Khan and Director General Foreign Affairs Syed Jaleel Abbas Jilani to interact with the Indian team on the issue.
Manmohan Singh named External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, Secretary (Water and Power) Pradeep Baijal and Joint Secretary (Ministry of External Affairs) Dilip Sinha to represent India in the deliberations.'
Musharraf favours Indo-Iran pipeline
Shamim Faizi also told the South Asia Tribune that "I have come to know that India and Pakistan will go for the Iran Gas Pipeline instead of the Turkmenistan Gas Pipeline, but due to diplomatic strategy, the Joint Statement is silent on this issue."
During the Musharraf-Manmohan talks, the Indian Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister was called in for special assistance on the issue, the article said.