LAHORE - The government has changed its mind to seek World Bank intervention on designs of Kishanganga and Ratle hydro power projects and decided to take up the issue in court of arbitration on the controversial constructions by India in Occupied Kashmir.

Officials in Water and Power Ministry say the decision has been made after detailed consultation with leading water experts and lawyers appointed by the government to pursue the case.

According to details provided by senior officials, the court will be comprised seven members: two each will be given by Pakistan and India and the rest three will be appointed by the United Nations and two top educational institutions of the world.

“It would not be The Hague (Netherland) Permanent Court of Arbitration but the members will be appointed on temporary basis,” said the officials who asked not to be quoted in the story.

The Hague Court had allowed India to construct Kishanganga project on River Jehlum in Held Kashmir but at the same time had accepted Pakistan’s objection on the design of the project. The court in its detailed decision had also allowed India and Pakistan to form court of arbitration on any future water dispute.

“We changed our earlier decision to approach World Bank and will put the issue before full court in light of The Hague decision,” said officials.

Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif has already made announcement through twitter about the government decision: “We have decided to take the issue to full court of arbitration.”

“We have finalised the case and could move anytime to the seven member court which would be appointed according to the IWT between India and Pakistan,” another high official told this scribe:

About the formation of the court, he said Pakistan will inform the Indian High Commission after appointment of its two members for the court and India was bound to appoint two members within 30 days.

According to the official, there would be an oath of loyalty by the two members which Pakistan would appoint to pursue its case on controversial projects.

The official informed that one each member will be appointed by the Secretary General of United Nations, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA and Rector of Imperial College of Science and Technology London.

The government last year in August had rejected the Indian offer to hold talks on the controversial hydro power projects, calling it a trap by New Delhi to buy time for completing the projects and announced to approach the World Bank, which is guarantor of the Indus Water Treaty.

India is building Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project (with 330MW power production capacity) and Ratle Hydroelectric Plant (850MW) in Occupied Kashmir on River Jehlum and Chenab. Besides the two projects, Pakistan had raised concern on design of three other projects being built by India on River Chenab. These projects are: 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 120MW Miyar and 48MW Lower Kalnai.