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Ansar Abbasi
Thursday, December 26, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: The 43-page judgment of the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) on the Kishanganga dispute between Pakistan and India shows clear signs of betrayal and disloyalty on the part of Islamabad as even the court was surprised to note that Pakistan did not even submit the critically-important data to secure its claim over its water.

 

What could be no less than a charge sheet against the concerned authorities if we look at the ICA decision which noted: “Pakistan has submitted no data on current or anticipated agriculture uses of water from the Kishanganga.”

 

It added: “Pakistan has not submitted even an estimate of the likely scope of such development, much less evidence upon which the Court could rely, the Court is unable to take account of such potential uses and has reached its determination of the minimum flow on the basis of hydro-electric and environmental factors alone.”

 

While the government ministers are telling the nation to believe that the ICA judgment was a great victory of Pakistan, the ICA decision proves that Pakistan’s inability to provide the required data to the Court led to the minimum flow of water guaranteed for Pakistan.

 

In para 93, the court judgment reads: “Pakistan’s agricultural uses: Pakistan has submitted no data on current or anticipated agricultural uses of water from the Kishenganga/Neelum. Pakistan has, however, stated that future development in the Neelum Valley will be contingent on the increased use of lift irrigation from the river and on a move away from subsistence agriculture. The Parties disagree as to whether such potential future uses are relevant to the determination of the minimum flow.”

 

In para 94, the court said: “In now setting a fixed minimum flow, anticipated future agricultural uses would ordinarily feature in the Court’s determination. However, as Pakistan has not submitted even an estimate of the likely scope of such development, much less evidence upon which the Court could rely, the Court is unable to take account of such potential uses and has reached its determination of the minimum flow on the basis of hydro-electric and environmental factors alone. Having done so, the Court is nevertheless confident that the minimum flow it prescribes below on the basis of other factors will ensure sufficient water in the river so as not to curtail significantly agricultural development in the Neelum Valley.”

 

Commenting on the aspect of the parties’ method of gathering hydrological data, the ICA judgment lamented: “Pakistan made no effort to share the published, quality-assured data for the Indus basin with India. In this respect, the Court is not satisfied with the suggestion that India can, for a fee, consult the published data in Pakistan’s hydrologic yearbooks. The Court commends to the Parties the practice of undertaking quality assurance on hydrologic data collected on tributaries of the Indus and of sharing such data (together with sufficient elaboration to explain variations from data exchanged under Article VI) through the mechanisms of the Permanent Indus Commission.”

 

Reflecting on the apathy of Pakistan that has failed to use its water, the ICA decision said that after examining the actions and communications of the parties from 2004-2006, it concluded: “India has a stronger claim to having coupled intent with action at the KHEP (Kishenganga hydro project) earlier than Pakistan achieved the same at the NJHEP (Neelam Jhelum hydro project), resulting in the former’s priority in right over the latter with respect to the use of the waters of the Kishenganga/Neelum for hydro-electric power generation.”

 

It is believed that as India is in the process of building dozens of dams on Pakistani rivers, Pakistan’s internal water disputes, its failure to build major dams and wastage of water will all lead to further cut in Pakistani water by India.

 

Water experts have already warned Islamabad of New Delhi’s evil designs against the Pakistani waters but here the aloofness and indifference of our own decision-makers on this critical issue sees no end.