Pakistan team leaves for The Hague without key official


The Pakistan team left for The Hague without its key official, Indus Water Commissioner (IWC) Shiraz Memon, who was dropped at the last moment due to differences with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Water and Agriculture Kamal Majeedullah.
The International Court of Arbitration, formed by the United Nations, will take up Pakistan’s petition that seeks a stay against India’s construction of the Kishanganga hydroelectric project on the Jhelum River in violation of the 1960’s Indus Water Treaty on August 25.
An official source said Memon had reservations over the inclusion of a non-professional consultant from NESPAK in the team, which were initially put aside by Majeedullah, but when Memon insisted, he was dropped from the team. Former IWC Jamait Ali Shah was also removed from the team by Majeedullah, who had no specialisation in the field.
The source said Kamal Majeedullah enjoyed complete support of President Asif Ali Zardari and operated independently without any administrative control of the Ministry of Water and Power and decides important matters without consulting anyone. IWC has been replaced by Joint IWC Ejaz Ahmad. Despite repeated attempts Kamal Majeedullah and Memon were not available for comments.
The source said Pakistan had further weakened the case as its since the team was already incompetent and the exclusion of the IWC would make matters worse.
In May 2010, Pakistan had instituted arbitral proceedings against India under Article IX and Annexure G of the Indus Waters Treaty. Pakistan and India disagree on the application of the provisions of the Treaty regarding the Kishanganga hydroelectric project.
Pakistan had approached the international court against the Indian government move to construct 330MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project by diverting the Neelum River, which, it said, was in violation of the treaty. Pakistan’s argument is that the project would result in decrease in water for irrigation and would lessen the generation capacity of hydropower projects downstream.
The seven-member Court of Arbitration is chaired by Judge Stephen M Schwebel of the United States. The Court of Arbitration visited the Neelum-Jhelum and Kishanganga hydroelectric projects and surrounding areas in June this year. In addition to the expert briefings and features observed during the site visit, the court would consider the written and oral pleadings that have been and will be submitted by Pakistan and India before issuing its award.