Pakistan warns India against breach of water treaty

Source:  Tribune Published in Current Affairs on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad has warned New Delhi that Pakistan will respond with full force if India shows open aggression by breaching the World Bank-sponsored Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

“India will be responded [to] if it shows aggression by unilaterally breaking the treaty,” Water and Power Secretary Younis Dagha told the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power on Monday.

India seeks to use more water from Indus basin, but within Indus Waters Treaty terms

The committee had met to reconsider the report regarding an adjournment motion moved in the upper house of parliament by Senator Sherry Rehman on September 27. Rehman had moved the motion in the backdrop of Indian threats to unilaterally revoke the IWT.

The PPP senator had sought details about the possible repercussions of the move and Pakistan’s stance and preparedness to combat such a warlike situation.

Talking with reference to the Indian threats, Dagha told the panel that there are some more conventions in place in addition to the IWT to safeguard Pakistan’s water rights.

“If India shows aggression then there are some other options,” he added. “India cannot stop more water from Neelum River. It can stop water only temporarily for using it.”

Dagha said the government had started work on the National Water Policy 2016 and consultations would be completed in the next one to two months.  Later, the parliamentary panel formed a subcommittee, comprising members National Assembly, Water and Power Ministry officials and experts on water to review the IWT.

India cannot annul Indus Waters Treaty: FO

Rehman expressed concerns over violation of the IWT and said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had threatened to end the treaty unilaterally.

“According to a report of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), India has no authority to break the IWT unilaterally,” she said, adding that India has taken advantage due to past mistakes of different governments in Pakistan.

Rehman lamented that India built several dams on various rivers but Pakistan could do nothing to stop it. “India has built Kishanganga dam and Baglihar dam. Our Mangla dam will be adversely affected due to more dams being built by India,” she said.

She said the IWT should be reviewed with mutual consultations, adding that India is blocking Pakistan’s water and government should think over the solutions.

Wapda officials informed the committee that 584 appointments were made in the authority during the last one year. As many as 516 appointments were made on contract while 68 on daily wages.