Pakistan warns India against water halt

Asks World Bank to empanel Arbitration Court as Delhi has threatened to restrict water flow, India is not bound to follow Indus Treaty and has plans to divert the water flow to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan,” says Indian minister

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday warned India against water terrorism and urged New Delhi to stop violating the Indus Water Treaty.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said the World Bank should fulfil its responsibility regarding empanelment of Court of Arbitration after India hinted at restricting the flow of water into Pakistan from its share of rivers.

The spokesperson denounced the recent statements of Indian leadership on the Indus Water Treaty.

India’s Minister of Water Resources and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said New Delhi will stop Pakistan’s share of water as allocated under the Indus Water Treaty.

Minister Gadkari also announced that "India was not bound to follow the Treaty and had plans to divert the water flow to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan".

Under the Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960, Islamabad has unrestricted access to the western rivers - Indus, Jhelum and Chenab - while New Delhi enjoys the same authority over the eastern rivers - Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.

During the news briefing, spokesperson Dr Faisal said “Both Pakistan and India are signatories to the Indus Treaty but regretted that New Delhi is violating it. We are involved in the dispute resolution mechanism in the World Bank but lamented the matter has not been sorted out,” he said.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan desired that the Indus Water Treaty remains intact and its dispute resolution mechanism moves forward. “Pakistan wants better relations with India. Pakistan has consistently been raising Kashmir dispute at all the international forums to highlight the plight of oppressed Kashmiri people,” Faisal said.

He said that Pakistan had expressed its deep concern over the statement made by the Indian Finance Minister on May 2 about India's intention to have “Pakistan downgraded on the Financial Action Force list.”

“The statement re-confirms Pakistan's longstanding concerns that this technical forum is being politicized by India against Pakistan,” he added.

Faisal said India had made several attempts in the past, as well, to politicise the proceedings at FATF. “On several previous occasions, calculated leaks were made to the Indian media about the proceedings of FATF, which are strictly confidential. These instances of politicization by India were brought to the attention of the President of FATF by the Finance Minister of Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.

He said India’s attempts to politicise the proceedings in FATF against Pakistan call into question its credentials for co-chairing and being a member of the Asia Pacific Joint Group that reviews the progress made by Pakistan to implement the FATF Action Plan.

Faisal said that India had been trying to bring the region into an arms race. Let me say that an increase in the defence budget is not the sole determinant of a nation’s strength. “You have seen the results of misadventure by India on February 27 and the befitting reply given by our military forces,” he said.

To a question, he said that Pakistan supported a political solution to the Afghan conflict and has consistently maintained the position that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is the only way forward. “Pakistan urges all stakeholders to engage in a dialogue and find a political solution in this regard,” the spokesperson said.

He said that Kabul should take action against the terrorists on its soil who were striking inside Pakistan.

About Aasia Bibi’s departure to Canada after acquittal in a blasphemy case, Faisal said: “She is a free citizen and can go wherever she wants.” Moving forth, he said: “There is no connection between the departure of Aasia Bibi and the bomb blast in Lahore.”

Faisal said that Emperor Naruhito has ascended the Throne on May 1 after voluntary abdication of his father. The accession of new Emperor has marked the beginning of new era of “Reiwa”, symbol of peace and harmony.

“Pakistan welcomes the new Emperor and the President has sent a congratulatory message for the new Emperor. Pakistan and Japan enjoy longstanding cordial relations; we hope that the new era would bring prosperity, security and development for the people of Japan. The bilateral relations between Pakistan and Japan would further strengthen to the mutual benefit of the people of two countries in the years ahead,” he said.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt