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Pakistani delegation reaches Jammu to inspect India’s Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai water projects

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani delegation reached Jammu to inspect two hydroelectric power projects under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. The delegation will assess the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai projects to ensure their completion does not impact Pakistan’s water share.

This marks the first visit by a Pakistani team to Jammu for such an inspection in five years, part of the Neutral Expert Proceedings.

Pakistan and India signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, under the arbitration and supervision of the World Bank. The treaty aims to ensure the equitable distribution of water from rivers shared by the two countries.

The Pakal Dul and Kalnai projects were last inspected by a Pakistani team in January 2019. Relations between the two countries became strained after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and integrated it into its territory.

Indian authorities have stated that the visiting experts, including the Pakistani delegation, will also inspect the Kishen Ganga and Ratle power projects located in the Chenab Valley. In India, the Neelum River is referred to as Kishen Ganga.

Pakistan had raised objections regarding these power projects, prompting the World Bank to arrange for a settlement through neutral experts in 2016. Later, Pakistan withdrew its request from the World Bank and agreed to a settlement through an arbitration court. However, India insisted on resolving the issue through neutral experts.

Following the failure of negotiations between Pakistan and India, the World Bank appointed a neutral expert and a head of the arbitration court in October 2022. In July 2023, the arbitration court ruled that it was competent to handle the matter based on Pakistan’s request. Subsequently, Pakistan submitted legal documents related to the case in March 2023.

In April, the arbitration court conducted a week-long visit to the Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project in Azad Kashmir. India refused to participate in the arbitration court proceedings and submitted a memorial in August 2023 for the appointment of a neutral expert. Pakistan participated in a meeting under the neutral expert in Vienna, Austria, last September.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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