Indian Water Commission arrives in Pak to hold talks on Indus Waters Treaty

Vastavam web: A delegation of the Indian Water Commission arrived in Pakistan today to hold crucial talks with its counterpart on various aspects of the Indus Waters Treaty, the first bilateral engagement since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office. Pakistan Water Commissioner Syed Mehr Ali Shah and additional commissioner Sheraz Jamil received the nine-member Indian delegation led by Water Commissioner P K Saxena on its arrival here via Wagah border. The last meeting of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission was held in New Delhi in March during which both the sides had shared details of the water flow and the quantum of water being used under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.

India and Pakistan signed the treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers. However, there have been disagreements and differences between India and Pakistan over the treaty.

“We had also raised concerns over construction of dams on Pakistani rivers and India did not bother about it and continued doing the same,” Shah said, adding India will reply to Pakistan’s queries on controversial water projects. Former Pakistan Indus Water Commissioner Syed Jamaat Ali Shah told PTI that the successive Pakistani governments had given much importance to its water disputes with India.

“India does not bother Pakistan in this regard. It begins work on building hydro power projects on the Pakistani rivers and the Pakistani government raises objections afterwards. Unless the Pakistani government seriously takes up these matters with India it will not get relief,” he said and added that Pakistan also needs to plead its case in the World Bank.

“The two sides will in talks also finalise the schedule of future meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission and visits of the teams of the Indus commissioners,” the official said. The water commissioners of Pakistan and India were required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works, but Pakistan had been facing a lot of problems in timely meetings and visits.