LAHORE: The government is preparing to take the issue of construction of Kishan Ganga Dam over Neelum River by India to a neutral expert, abolishing its previous decision to challenge it in the International Court of Justice, Commissioner Indus Basin Treaty Mirza Asif Baig confirmed to the Express Investigation Cell.
If the two countries could not agree on the name of neutral expert, a formal application will be filed with the World Bank for appointing one, he said.
The Neelum River that flows through Kashmir’s Neelum Valley is known as Kishan Ganga River on the Indian side. India is taking steps to divert the flow of Kishan Ganga River and construct a 330MW power generation house over it. The government of Pakistan had decided to raise the issue in the International Court of Justice on the basis of directions of Permanent Court of Arbitration, clauses of the Indus Basin Treaty 1960, International Convention on Environment Change, Kyoto Protocol and Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Baig said that the government and all the stakeholders had mulled over the option of taking the issue to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. However, instead of international court, the government is now preparing to take the issue to a neutral expert.
He said that the two countries will hold dialogue to appoint a neutral expert, but keeping in view of failed talks, this option does not seem viable.
According to the Indus Waters Treaty, the complainant will write to the World Bank requesting the appointment of a neutral expert. The bank will nominate the neutral expert with the consent of India and Pakistan who will give verdict after hearing both the parties to the issue.
TRANSLATED BY ARSHAD SHAHEEN
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2015