IWT: Held ‘constructive’ discussion with Pakistani leadership, says WB chief


ISLAMABAD: World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday said she had ‘constructive talks’ with Pakistan on the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

“I had constructive discussions to fully understand all perspectives on IWT,” a WB handout quoted Georgieva as saying. WB’s country office issued the statement at the conclusion of her three-day visit to Pakistan.

Georgieva held meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his economic team to discuss Islamabad’s dispute with India on IWT and the status of economic reforms which began three years ago under the umbrella of the International Monetary Fund. She supported deepening of Pakistan’s reforms for accelerating economic growth.

WB said that in order to maintain its neutral role as an IWT signatory, it in December had announced a pause in separate processes initiated by India and Pakistan under the treaty to allow the two countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements.

“The hope with announcing the pause was for the two countries to begin to resolve the issue in an amicable manner and in line with the spirit of the treaty rather than pursuing concurrent processes that could make the treaty unworkable over time,” WB said on Saturday.

The lender said it, India and Pakistan are in discussions over how to resolve disagreements between the two countries over India’s construction of two hydroelectric power plants. However, instead of opting for alternate dispute resolution mechanism, Pakistan apparently did not change its position.

A handout issued by Prime Minister’s office on Thursday reminded WB again to effectively play its role of arbitrator in the implementation of IWT and to establish a court of arbitration for the immediate settlement of a water dispute between Islamabad and New Delhi. The premier hoped WB “will play a lead role in the resolution of disputes through the establishment of a Court of Arbitration.”

During her visit, Ms Georgieva called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and met with his economic team led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif.

She started her trip with a visit to Tarbela Hydro¬power Project.

“Tarbela is a marvellous project for Pakistan and a testimony to sustainable management of the Indus. It is an excellent example to showcase… that Pakistan is producing clean, renewable and environment-friendly energy,” Ms Georgieva said.

She also met the leadership of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and learnt about province-level reform efforts and development projects under implementation and preparation with the bank’s support.

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