The verdict announced by International Court of Arbitration on Kishenganga Hydroelectric Dam Project was labeled as a ‘big victory’ by Khawaja Asif, Minister of Water and Power akin to India’s claim of victory. But who won and who lost does not depend on the claims but the reality. The issue over Kishenganga project intensified when Pakistan moved the case to Arbitration court against India in January 2010 and protested in 2011. Later on the ICA announced its partial award which again India claimed to be in its favor. The matter was then requested by India to be taken into reconsideration for further clarification and interpretation of court’s decision in partial award.

The decision of Court clearly identifies the victorious party rather than the claims of either side. Pakistan itself was vying to construct Neelum Jhelum Hydroelectric Project (NJHEP) of its own therefore it’s objection regarding Kishenganga hydroelectric project was that India’s project would cause 33% of drastic reduction of water to Pakistan by India according to the technical experts. ICA verdict in its Final Award on Kishenganga project allowed India to continue with its project in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan was informed that whoever built the dam first would get the water rights, and no wonder the lax behavior of the previous and present governments has cost us dearly. After all this, Pakistan requested a monitoring regime to be established so that India remains in compliance with court decision regarding inspection and monitoring of KHEP and further such projects in Pakistan. According to court Pakistan failed to provide hydrological data and agricultural use of water which resulted in priority right to KHEP project. Careless and non-serious attitude of Pakistan government led it to failure.

How could a state then entitle itself to be ‘victorious’ when interestingly court itself admits that decided minimum flow is “somewhat severe in environmental term for Pakistan”? It’s not the claim of a state which decides the victory rather it’s the outcome of decisions by court and instead of feeling happy they should mend their ways and keep the betterment of Pakistan in their sight.

SYEDA TAZEEN KIRMANI,

Rawalpindi, December 25.