UN, WB may decide on Kishenganga umpires

Last Updated: Thursday, July 8, 2010 - 18:21

New Delhi: With just a week left for
expiry of deadline and both India and Pakistan unable to
decide on the names of umpires for Kishenganga arbitration,
the process seems to be heading for international intervention
even as New Delhi has proposed to Pakistan July 12 as a date
to settle the umpire issue bilaterally.

While both sides named two arbitrators each within the
30 days of initiation of the arbitration process on May 18,
they have failed to decide so far on the three umpires,
including a Chairman, for the court of arbitration to settle
the Kishenganga water dispute. The final date for selecting
these umpires is July 16.

Pakistan had "instituted" arbitration proceedings
on May 18 on the Kishenganga Hydro-electric Project by
appointing Bruno Simma and Jan Paulsson as its arbitrators for
the seven-member Court of Arbitration, which is being set up
in accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, the Indian
side said while appointing their arbitrators on June 16.

India nominated a judge of the Geneva-based
International Court of Justice Peter Tomka and a Swiss
international law expert Lucius Caflisch to represent it
in the Kishenganga project dispute.

India also invited Pakistan government for
consultations on July 5-6 regarding the appointment of three
umpires, including a Chairman of the Court of Arbitration, by
mutual agreement.

Though Pakistan did not come for the consultations, it
proposed exchanging names of umpires, selected by both
countries respectively, officials sources said.

However, after legal consultation, India insisted on
holding discussion on the selection of the umpires instead
of exchanging names, which had a possibility of being vetoed
by either country, they said.

With the process appearing to head towards international
intervention under which UN and World Bank will select the
names using draw of lots, India yesterday again invited
Pakistan to hold bilateral consultations, with either an
Indian team visiting Islamabad or their team coming here, on
July 12 to resolve the issue, the sources said.

As per the provisions of the Treaty, if the two
countries fail to appoint umpires within 30 days of
appointment of arbitrators from both sides, then the
two parties prepare a draw of lots and request a "person"
mentioned in the Treaty to select the umpire.

While the Chairman can be selected by either the
Secretary General of the United Nations or President of the
World Bank, the engineer member umpire can be selected from a
lot by President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology or
Rector, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London.

The Legal member umpire can be selected from a draw of
lots by either the Chief Justice of the United States or Lord
Chief Justice of England, as per the provisions of the Treaty.

Pakistan is objecting to construction of 330-MW hydro
power plant on Kishenganga, a tributary of the Jhelum in Jammu
and Kashmir, and has sought arbitration by the international
court under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.

The court of arbitration route is taken when the issue
does not pertain to a technicality and concerns the legal
disputes over the interpretation of the Treaty itself.

Pakistan is learnt to have sought legal interpretation
on two major parameters concerning the diversion of
Kishenganga water for the power project in Jammu and Kashmir.

First, it has sought the legal interpretation of
India`s obligations under the provisions of the Treaty that
mandates India to let the water of the Western-flowing Indus
Basin Rivers (Chenab, Jhelum and Indus) go to Pakistan and
whether or not the Kishenganga project meets those
obligations.

New Delhi maintains that it is within its rights,
under the Treaty, to divert Kishenganga waters to the Bonar
Madmati Nullah, another tributary of the Jhelum, which falls
into the Wullar Lake before joining the Jhelum again.

Pakistan has objected to this, saying India`s plan to
divert water causes obstruction to the flow of Kishenganga.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 8, 2010 - 18:21

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