Pakistan accuses India of ignoring Chenab water shortage issue

September 17th, 2008 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 17 (IANS) India is keeping mum on Pakistan’s repeated complaints over the issue of reduced water flow in the Chenab river, a top Pakistani official has charged, threatening if the matter is not settled soon Pakistan will again seek intervention of the World Bank.The shortage of water in the Chenab river occurred due to filling up the Baglihar dam at initial stages, and despite Pakistan’s repeated pleas India did nothing to address the problem, said Jamat Ali Shah, Pakistan’s commissioner on Indus Water Treaty, the Online news agency reported Wednesday.

“We have demanded the Indian commissioner for a visit of the site and a detailed report regarding filling of the dam. Yet the Indian commissioner has not given any positive response yet,” he said in an interview with BBC radio.

The Pakistani commissioner said if any resolution was not found then they would again seek Workd Bank intervention.

India and Pakistan have been at odds and even sought World Bank arbitration over the controversial Baglihar dam, which is being built by India on the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Regarding the issue we will demand an equal distribution of water from India and if it is not possible then India will have to pay for our loss,” Shah said.

“And if India does not fulfil our demands then any commissioner of the Treaty has the right to put the matter to any impartial expert.”

He also added that Pakistan had demanded that India call for an emergency session as per the Indus Water Treaty and India had promised to hold a session in New Delhi. But no communication on this has yet been made by India.

The 1960 river treaty between the two countries provides India exclusive control of three eastern rivers, while it provides Pakistan similar control on three western rivers, including the Chenab river.

According to Shah, Pakistan has also demanded to establish a Joint Observation Team to oversee the concerns but India has not yet responded to it.

Earlier, the World Bank had addressed some of the objections Pakistan raised over the design of the project, but Pakistan still complains that the post-completion ramifications are affecting the country’s irrigation system.

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