Water Distribution

With the Permanent Commission on Indus Waters (PCIW) commencing once again, Pakistan has room to raise objections regarding the countless hydropower initiatives India has taken to increase the production of energy. It is important to start new discussions but at the same time, work towards resolving long-standing issues like the Kishanganga power plant must be focused on. Without a specific direction for the meeting, they are likely to remain unconstructive.

The meeting is scheduled to take place from March 1-3 in Islamabad. India’s 10-member delegation is expected to soothe our concerns, particularly the pre-existing ones pertaining to the 1000MW Pakal Dul project and the 48MW Lower Kalnai project.

A major point of contention throughout the years has been the power plant that India is planning to construct next to the Kishanganga River–a tributary of River Jhelum. According to the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan was awarded control over Jhelum and such a project would violate the terms of the treaty and limit the already bleak flow of water to the country. Time and time again, our government brought this issue to the table and with India agreeing to an inspection of the site, our focus must be on ensuring that the inspection turns into a reality and not just a way for India to push the matter under the rug.

Ringing the alarm when it comes to the new projects being launched by the BJP government, in addition to the dire consequences previous ones have for Pakistan and the availability of water domestically, is integral. India must be reminded that when it comes to any hydro-powered initiatives, it must communicate with Pakistan before so that any encroachment upon entitlements is prevented. However, the meetings have to become more operational and productive. Our representatives must enter the room with a clear focus in mind and each meeting should have an objective that must be met. Such organisation is the only way through which some progress may be made.

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