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Pakistan moves int’l court against Indian water projects

LAHORE - Islamabad moved international court of arbitration against two hydropower projects being built by India in held Kashmir, said a top official of Ministry of Water & Power in an interaction with journalists at Wapda House yesterday.

The official, who wanted not to be named, said the decision to approach the court of arbitration had been taken on the recommendation of international lawyers hired to pursue Pakistan’s case on Kishanganga and Ratle Power projects.

Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif had earlier made announcement through twitter about the government decision to raise the issue of controversial projects of India in the full court of arbitration.

Another official, looking after the issues of Indus Water Treaty, said the case against controversial projects had been finalised but the government was yet to move arbitration court.

“We have finalised the case and can move anytime the seven-member court which will be appointed in light of the Hague Court of Arbitration’s decision announced in December 2013 on Kishanganga project.

“Pakistan and India will appoint two members each for the seven-member proposed court and three other members will be appointed by the Secretary General of United Nations, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA and Rector of Imperial College of Science and Technology London,” he informed.

On the other side, The Nation learnt through a source that Water and Power Ministry recently briefed the prime minister over the Indian projects in occupied valley.

“The PM has not given final go-ahead to the ministry to move the court against New Delhi,” said the source.

India is building Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project (with 330MW power production capacity) and Ratle Hydroelectric Plant (850MW) in occupied Kashmir on River Jhelum and Chenab. Besides these two projects, Pakistan had raised objections on design of three other projects being built by India on River Chenab. These projects are: 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 120MW Miyar and 48MW Lower Kalnai.

The official in briefing at Wapda House claimed the government will end the load shedding in March 2018. He said there would be 4,000MW surplus electricity in national grid by the end of 2018. The officials said the circular debt of power sector came down to Rs310 billion from around Rs500 billion in 2013. He said around 3,500MW will be added in energy basket before the arrival of next summer season. He said the electricity tariff will be affordable to public and will not go beyond Rs7 to Rs8 per unit. He said the construction of Dasu power project will start at the end of this year.

Article by Iftikhar Alam; Published in The Nation on 18-Aug-2016.

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