Islamabad, Feb 22: In response to India’s decision to stop the flow of its share of water from the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej to Pakistan, Islamabad said that it was not concerned if New Delhi diverted water of the three eastern rivers.
Indian’s announcement on Thursday comes in addition to other actions like withdrawal of the most favoured nation (MFN) to Pakistan and slapping of a 200 per cent duty on all imports from Islamabad in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF troopers.
The carnage was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror outfit.
Speaking to Dawn news on Thursday night, Secretary of Pakistan’s Ministry of Water Resources Khawaja Shumail said: “We have neither concern nor objection if India diverts water of eastern rivers and supplies it to its people or uses it for other purposes, as the IWT (Indus Waters Treaty) allows it do so.”
Shumail said Pakistan did not see India’s decidion as worrisome in context with the IWT.
“But we will definitely express our concerns and raise objections strongly if they use or divert waters of western rivers (Chenab, Indus, Jhelum) on which our right to use prevails,” he added.
According to Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mehr Ali Shah, as the IWT has already given a right to India in 1960 to use the water of eastern rivers, it is now up to it to do so or not.
“Whether they diverted and used their unutilised share of eastern rivers’ waters in 1960, we had no problem. They want to do it now, we have no problem. And if they don’t want to use this, we have no issue,” Shah told Dawn.
While commenting about the proposed visit of Indian experts (India’s commissioner for Indus waters) to Kotri Barrage (Sindh) keeping in view the tension between the two countries after the Pulwama attack, the Commissioner said: “Let’s see what happens in this regard. But we hope for the best.”
A three-member delegation of Pakistani experts headed by Shah completed its general tour of inspection (from January 28 to February 1) to various hydropower projects – 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 48MW Lower Kalnai, 850MW Ratlay and 900MW Baglihar dam at Chenab Basin in India.
Before the Pulwama attack, India also shared the design data of its three planned run-of-the-river hydropower schemes with Pakistan under the IWT.