Waterfront arbitration: WB working on new initiative for India, Pakistan

Qureshi says Pakistan desires trustful, respectful relations with US

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Staff Report

Islamabad

The World Bank (WB) has indicated that it is in the process of finalising a fresh initiative for arbitration between India and Pakistan on water dispute.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a meeting with President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim on the sidelines of the 73rd UNGA session. WB president told FM Qureshi that the Bank would soon be approaching Pakistan and India with details.

The meeting was centred on World Bank’s role in the implementation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) as its Administrator.

According to a communiqué, the FM Qureshi presented Pakistan’s reservations on Kishanganga and Ratle dam projects, saying the construction of these projects represented a violation of the IWT — the treaty gave Pakistan exclusive rights to western rivers.

“The procedural delay on Pakistan’s request to the World Bank to empanel the Court of Arbitration had resulted in the completion of the Kishanganga Projects while construction work on Ratle was in progress,” emphasised the minister.

Qureshi said Pakistan viewed this as a humanitarian issue, endangering lives and livelihood of millions while hastening to add that the incumbent Pakistani regime did not want to politicise the issue.

The President of World Bank laid out the Bank’s desire to play a constructive role in resolving the matter at the earliest.

“With the ongoing challenge of climate change, water issues were likely to be more prominent on the international agenda,” said the WB president.

Kim indicated that the WB was in the process of finalising a fresh initiative for arbitration and the bank would soon be approaching Pakistan and India with details.

 

Ties of respect

Talking to a Republican member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina Joe Wilson in New York, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan desired a broad-based relationship with the United States based on mutual trust and respect.

The minister said Pakistan had successfully turned the corner in its fight against terrorism at a great cost of human life and resources. He also shared Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision for a peaceful neighbourhood.

Congressman Wilson emphasised the need for continued cooperation between the two countries for achieving their common objectives in the region.

 

Regional connectivity

Shah Mahmood Qureshi attended the 25th Informal Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).

The FM, recognising the importance of the platform, said Pakistan enjoys fraternal and brotherly relations with the ECO member countries.

He said these relations can be further strengthened with regional connectivity projects. He highlighted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a great example of connectivity.

FM Qureshi said there was a greater need to initiate energy projects.

He supported strengthening the ECO Transit Trade Framework Agreement (TTFA), to act as a bridge between the North and the South, Europe and Asia.

The FM said that Pakistan was upgrading its rail and infrastructure to facilitate smooth flow of goods with its neighbours.

He said Istanbul-Tehran-Istanbul corridor and the Pakistan-Iran-Turkmenistan rail link were being made functional.