Kishanganga Dam and its implications
In a period of judicial activism in Pakistan, a long journey of so motto actions in almost every public sector, the head of the Apex Court ordered to the concerned departments to provide complete data regarding the water flow in the rivers, before and after the construction of Kishanganga Dam in Indian occupied Kashmir. Meanwhile, World Bank has rejected all of the allegations made by Pakistan on the construction of Kishanganga Dam, is a violation of Indus Water Treaty 1960, because not only reducing the water share of Pakistan but also divergence of the way of water flow, and suggested a neutral expert in this bilateral dispute of arch neighboring nuclear states.
This issue arose last year too, when Pakistan requested the World Bank to establish a court of Arbitration to resolve the differences between the two countries on Kishanganga Dam. India simultaneously requested the World Bank for the appointment of a neutral expert. The World Bank initially agreed to set up both the Arbitration Court and the appointment of the neutral expert. However in response to the Indian objection on two parallel processes not being legally tenable, the World Bank decided to announce a ‘pause’ and asked both the parties to resolve the issue through bilateral avenues. Giving reasons for this action, the President of the Bank, in a letter written to finance ministers of both the countries, said “We are announcing this pause to protect the Indus Water Treaty and to help India and Pakistan to consider alternative approaches to resolving conflicting interests under the treaty and its application to two hydro electric power plants. This is an opportunity 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. I would hope that the two countries will come to an agreement by the end of January.”
Ironically, during the last 40 years of Pakistan’s history, civil and military governments, not even a single party looked upon such an important issue (water scarcity), not even now, included it in their general election’s manifesto 2018. National departments are unable to do anything under the gigantic political pressure; the Kalabagh Dam is one of the most significant examples of political parties drift, instead of national interests just for the sake of personal. Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court, Justice Saqib Nisar heard the plea regarding the Kalabagh Dam and upcoming alarming draughts condition in the country due to the rise of earth temperature which is causing melting of glaciers in the north of Pakistan. CJP, boldly, stated that now, our main focus is upon water issues, so, in this regard the court has already taken a step ahead.
Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modhi, not only played a game of anti-Pakistan sentiments in last general elections but he proved all his slogans with his actions in concrete manners, exit from bilateral talks about Kashmir issue( brutal use of force in the form of ballet guns) and construction of new Dams in Indian occupied Kashmir. Now,2018 also a year of general election in both countries, regarding the Indian political scenario there are a few chances of strong diplomatic relations between them. But on the other hand track-II diplomacy is going forward, a book written by the collaboration of both countries’ secret agencies’ head, the former chief of ISI, Mr. Asad Durani and the former chief of RAW A.A Dulat, and also a step moving too. The trinity of India, China and Pakistan is very vital for themselves as well as for the peace of the whole region so, China is encouraging both of the states to develop a sense of mutual trust and talk, as she did in the case of Pakistan- Afghanistan, to protect her own business interests and investment in the region.
Keeping in the view of WB’s judgment (Pakistan should agree on neutral expert instead of going to the International Court of Arbitration) against Pakistan’s stance (will pursue this matter to the International Court of Arbitration instead of neutral expert, which will close the doors of ICA to Pakistan), it is clear that our foreign office is not doing well to protect the national interests, so, a strong and long term foreign policy is needed in this regard which is supported by all the political parties and establishment altogether, to achieve its determined goals.