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Dilshad Azeem
Sunday, September 25, 2011
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: The Court of Arbitration in The Hague has accepted Pakistan’s application and has stopped India from constructing any permanent works on or above the Kishanganga/Neelum River bed at the Gurez site that may inhibit the restoration of the flow of the river to its natural channel.

 

The court, which was approached by Pakistan, also ordered that Pakistan and India arrange for periodic joint inspections of the dam site at Gurez in order to monitor the implementation of the Court’s Order.

 

Pakistan had sought from the Court of Arbitration an immediate order against India for discontinuation, modification or dismantling of its Kishanganga Hydroelectric Power Project (KHEP).

 

“We had pleaded that India be asked to tell the court about any imminent and actual developments on the dam,” Kamal Majidullah, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Water Resources and Agriculture, told The News on Saturday.

 

Giving details, he said the Pakistani team had moved a formal application for interim measures under the 1960 Water Treaty between the two countries.

 

“An order that any steps India has taken or may take in respect of the KHEP are taken at its own risk without prejudice to the possibility that the court may order that the works may not be continued, be modified or dismantled,” provided the application.

 

The plea said, “India be ordered to inform the court and Pakistan of any imminent and actual developments on the Kishanganga Dam that may adversely affect the restoring of the status quo ante or that may jeopardize Pakistan’s rights and interests under the Treaty.”

 

The submissions also included “a stop work order” and any further relief the court considered necessary.

 

Kamal Majidullah said that he along with legal experts from Pakistan and abroad who prepared a case, Nespak and PCIW of the Ministry of Water and Power attended the hearing at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

 

In January and again in March, Pakistan had required India to provide an undertaking that insofar as it was proceeding with the construction of the Kishanganga Hydro Electric Project it would be doing so at its own risk, in accordance with established principles of international law. India had refused to provide any such undertaking and thus adherence to this principle was a relief sought by Pakistan in its interim measures application.

 

During the recent hearing on interim measures India agreed to the ‘proceed at own risk’ principle which has been noted by the court in its order. India, on the construction of the tunnel and power house, may proceed at its own risk without prejudice to the possibility that the court may in its final decision order that the works may not be continued, be modified or dismantled. In addition the court stated that it shall remain actively seized of the matter.