Pak-India Indus Waters Treaty talks begin
The two-day meeting of the Indus Water Commission began Monday in Islamabad and officials said the discussions focused on designs of three controversial hydropower projects India plans to build on the Chenab River.
After a bilateral meeting between the Secretary Water and Power with the Indian Secretary for Water Resources, held in New Delhi in July 2016, both the disputed matters were referred for a third party resolution through the World Bank (WB).
Despite various media statements causing speculations, Pakistan showed restraint and kept on making efforts for resumption of commission level talks. "If the 12 projects get completed, they will store 4.7 million acre-feet of water squeezing the flow in the river reaching Pakistan".
An official said Pakistan formally asked India to share the details of the designs of the three projects and also provide access to Pakistani experts to verify that the Indus Water Treaty was not being violated in the process.
Mr Asif said the meeting would discuss the design aspects of Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants and flood data supply by India.
While India has resumed talks with Pakistan on water-related issues, it has refused to resume a wide-ranging bilateral dialogue aimed at normalizing political ties and finding solutions to outstanding disputes, including Kashmir. He said Pakistan believes that continuation of purposeful talks with honest efforts from both sides would lead to resolution of the matters at the Commission level, in accordance with the provisions of the IWT which has been a symbol of peaceful management of Trans-boundary water resources.
As per the agreement, both countries are liable to hold deliberations each year in order to ensure compliance with the treaty and resolve any disputes. Pakistan had already taken up both the issues at the World Bank level, he said.
India had suspended the annual PIC talks in Sept 2016 - ostensibly in wake of Uri attack in Occupied Kashmir.
Leaders of eighteen farmer associations from across the country on Sunday said that Indus Water Treaty must be protected as Pakistan has a right on the waters of three rivers, reported Daily Dunya.
The meeting between the two neighbouring countries is taking place after a lacuna of nearly two years. However, the agenda for the meeting, taking place almost six months after India made a decision to suspend talks on the pact, was yet to be finalised.
The official, however, reiterated that there will be "no compromise" on India exploiting its due rights under the 57-year-old pact.
He further added that delays had been witnessed in the past in the handling of the Kishanganga project.