Arbitration on Kishanganga project starts this month


Pakistan’s plea against the construction of the Kishanganga hydroelectric project in the Indian-occupied Kashmir would be taken up for hearing by the Court of Arbitration in The Hague later in the month. It was stated by Water and Power Secretary Imtiaz Kazi after an in-camera briefing to the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power on the water dispute with India along with the litigation details concerning the Kishanganga hydroelectric project.
Pakistan had instituted arbitral proceedings against India under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), signed in 1960, on May 17, 2010. The international agreement signed by both by states allocates the use of six major rivers between the two countries. Pakistan and India have disagreement on the application of the provisions of the treaty on the Kishanganga project. A seven-member Court of Arbitration already constituted is looking into the dispute.
Kazi told reporters that the meeting, briefed by Kamal Majeed Ullah, expressed satisfaction over the legal course adopted by the government. He said the Court of Arbitration had visited the projects sites of Neelum-Jhelum and Kishanganga. “The second hearing is accepted to take place last week of July.” In reply to a question, he said under the IWT, India was not allowed to temper or divert the water course, adding that India had completed 5 percent work on the 23.5 km Kishanganga tunnel.
The Court of Arbitration is chaired by Stephen M Schwebel of United States, who is the former president of the International Court of Justice. In addition to the expert briefings and features observed during the site visit, the court will also consider the written and oral pleadings submitted by Pakistan and India after which it will issue the award.