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Bunji power project: India lodges protests, Pak reacts

Last Updated: Friday, September 11, 2009 - 19:31

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The Pakistan Foreign Office on Friday stated that India has no right to protest over the construction of Bunji power project in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

Earlier in the day, India lodged protest over construction of the project and summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Rifat Masood to the Ministry of External Affairs.

"The government of India lodged a protest over the proposed construction of the Bunji Hydro-electric Project in a part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.

He did not elaborate but sources said that India treats as illegal any activity of that kind in the parts which actually belong to it.

India had further complained over Pakistan’s reform package for Northern Areas.

"The government of India protested through diplomatic channels today against the government of Pakistan`s so-called `Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order- 2009`," External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

"The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947. The so-called `Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance
Order- 2009` is yet another cosmetic exercise intended to camouflage Pakistan`s illegal occupation," it said.

The reforms and self-governance package, which was approved on August 29, is seen as a step towards merger of the Northern Areas with Pakistan. Northern Areas, which are part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, have so far been directly ruled by Islamabad.

The 7,000 MW power project is proposed to be constructed with Chinese help on `Build, Operate, Own and Transfer` (BOOT) basis. An MoU in this regard was signed during President Asif Ali Zardari`s visit to China last month.

The project is estimated to cost between USD 6-7 billion and all the investment will be made by Chinese entrepreneurs.

The MoU has been signed between Pakistan`s Water and Power Ministry and China`s Three Gorges Project Corporation that has recently built the world`s largest hydro power
project in China -- capable of generating over 22,000 MW of electricity -- and a water reservoir spread over 650 sq km.

First Published: Friday, September 11, 2009 - 19:31
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