UNITED NATIONS: The World Bank is finalizing a fresh initiative to resolve the dispute over the Indian construction of the Kishan Ganga and Ratle projects, bank chief Jim Young Kim has said.
The announcement came after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi presented Pakistan’s position on the projects in “a forceful and emphatic manner”.
The multilateral lender will soon contact Pakistan and India, Kim said during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday, on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.
The meeting was focused on the World Bank’s role, as the administrator, in the implementation of the Indus Water Treaty, between India and Pakistan.
The foreign minister said Indian construction of the Kishan Ganga and Ratle projects represented a violation of the 1960 treaty, which gave Pakistan exclusive rights to western rivers.
He emphasized that the procedural delay on Pakistan’s request to the World Bank to empanel the Court of Arbitration had resulted in completion of the Kishan Ganga projects while construction work on Ratle was in progress.
Further, Qureshi said the new government viewed the matter as a humanitarian issue with lives and livelihood of millions at stake, adding that it was not interested in politicising the issue.
During the meeting, the World Bank president said that he understood Pakistan’s position on the treaty and expressed the bank’s desire to play a constructive role in resolving the matter at the earliest.
The foreign minister further remarked that with the ongoing challenge of climate change, water issues were likely to be more prominent on the international agenda.
“He [Kim] indicated that World Bank was in the process of finalising a fresh initiative and would soon be approaching Pakistan and India with details,” Qureshi said according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office added.
During the meeting, both sides resolved to maintain regular contacts at various levels to seek an early and amicable settlement to the issue.-APP