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Pak to approach international court over water row with India

May 03, 2010 14:16 IST

Pakistan has decided to approach the International Court of Arbitration to halt the construction of the Kishanganga hydropower project by India, on the ground that it violates the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, and has formed a team of legal experts to fight the case.

Professor Kaiyan Homi Kaikobad, an international legal expert of Pakistani origin, will lead the team at the International Court of Arbitration, the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying.

The government is estimated to have allocated $10 million for the case.

Kaikobad will be assisted by officials of the ministries of water and power, law and foreign affairs, Pakistan's permanent commissioner to the Indus Waters Commission and a few lawyers.

Kaikobad, who did his PhD from the London School of Economics, is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Formerly a legal adviser to the government of Bahrain, he is currently a professor of law and director of research at Brunel University.

Quoting sources, the daily said that India had almost completed the 22-km tunnel to divert Kishanganga (Neelum) waters to Wullar Lake, in an alleged violation of the Indus Waters Treaty, and is working to complete the 330MW project by January 2016.

If completed, the project will severely affect Pakistan's rights over the river, reduce water flows into Pakistan and minimise the power generation capacity of Pakistan's 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project near Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, the report claimed.

It said Pakistan's Permanent Indus Water Commissioner had asked the government in March last year to quickly take up the case with the International Court of Arbitration, after all options at the level of the Permanent Indus Commission were exhausted, but it took the government over 14 months to seriously consider this advice.

Pakistan has been opposing the Kishanganga project for over a decade because it could stop water flows into Jhelum river.

Bilateral talks have so far failed to yield any results to Pakistan's satisfaction.

Rezaul H Laskar In Islamabad
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