Kishanganga verdict sets things right: Pak
Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday contended that an international court of arbitration's decision on India's Kishanganga hydropower project had compensated for a neutral expert's earlier ruling on the Baglihar project that had favoured Delhi.
Kamal Majidulla, special assistant to the Prime Minister on water issues, claimed that the neutral expert's verdict of 2007 on the Baglihar project was a "travesty of justice" and an "inversion of the Indus Waters Treaty" that allocated three Western rivers to Pakistan.
However, he contended that the court of arbitration’s partial award, delivered last month, had removed the negative impact on Pakistan of the neutral expert's ruling as it had made it clear that India would not have the right to store water in any run-of-the-river projects on the Western rivers.
"This decision sets things right. It is an important decision that has guaranteed Pakistan’s access to water," Majidulla, a confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari, told a news conference at the Foreign Office.
He claimed that India planned to build 150 power projects in Jammu and Kashmir, including 47 run-of-the-river projects of 50 MW each. He also claimed that these projects violated the Indus Waters Treaty and affected Pakistan's fundamental rights under the pact.
"Now, India will have no right to storage in run-of-the-river projects and all such projects in future will have to be built according to a design to be given by the court of arbitration," he said.
Majidulla said Pakistan had not challenged the neutral expert's ruling on the Baglihar project as such decisions cannot be challenged under the Indus Waters Treaty.
However, in the case of the Kishanganga project, Islamabad had decided to take the issue to the court of arbitration, he said.
He contended that the court of arbitration had ruled in Pakistan’s favour on the issue of whether India could deplete the reservoir level of a run-of-the-river project below dead storage level.
The court, in its final decision on the matter, determined that the Indus Waters Treaty does not allow the reduction of water below the dead storage level "except in the case of an unforeseen emergency".
This will ensure that Pakistan receives uninterrupted water supplies on the Western rivers, he claimed.
He said the court of arbitration would decide on the minimum flows on the Western rivers in December after studying data on river flows from both countries.