ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has locked horns with India over the Kishanganga dam as Islamabad dispatched a delegation to Washington to seek World Bank’s support.

The Pakistani delegation led by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali comprises Director General South Asia in the foreign ministry Dr Mohammed Faisal and other senior officials. The Pakistani team will take up the violations by India of the Indus Water Treaty with the WB – being the guarantor of the accord.

The delegation arrived in Washington on Sunday to hold talks with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva today (Monday).

Senior officials at the foreign ministry said that the issue of construction of the Kishanganga dam on River Neelam will be discussed at the meeting.

The move comes after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the hydroelectric power plant in the Occupied Kashmir amid protests from Islamabad as the project will disrupt water supply to the country.

Last day, Pakistan said it was seriously concerned about the inauguration of Kishenganga hydroelectric project by India. A foreign ministry statement said: “Pakistan believes that the inauguration of the project without the resolution of the dispute is tantamount to violation of the Indus Waters Treaty.”

It added: “Despite several rounds of bilateral negotiations as well mediations under the auspices of the World Bank, India continued with the construction of the project.”

Pakistan asked the WB to act saying: “World Bank must urge India to address to Pakistan’s reservations on Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project.”

This month, the National Security Committee had directed the Water Resources Division to forcefully pursue the violation of Indus Water Treaty by India with the WB.

The committee also reviewed the prevailing situation in the Indian Ocean region and directed to keep a robust security posture for the maintenance of security and safeguarding national interests of Pakistan.

The Kishanganga hydroelectric plant is a $864 million dam which was part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin.

Construction on the project began in 2007 and was expected to be complete in 2016. Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River - called the Neelum River in Pakistan.

In February 2013, the CoA ruled that India could divert all the water leaving a minimum amount of water to the downstream of the dam on Kishanganga River for the purpose of environmental flows. On May 19 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kishanganga hydropower project.

Officials at the foreign ministry said Pakistan will remind the WB of its responsibilities towards the IWT and India had violated the treaty.

One official said: “World Bank is the guarantor and it must stop India from violations of the IWT. We will push the World Bank to stop India from work on this (Kishanganga dam) project.” He said: “Pakistan will also discuss the Baglihar dam and other controversies with the WB leaders.”

The official said Pakistan had already invited WB’s attention towards violations by India and will reiterate its position. “After the inauguration of (Kishanganga dam) the issue has turned more serious,” he maintained.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani in July 2016. An attack on Indian forces in September 2016 - that killed 19 soldiers in Uri area of held Kashmir - further heightened the tensions. India also claimed it had carried a “surgical strike” to avenge the Uri attack. Pakistan rejected the Indian claim.

Reports said the cross-border clashes between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India had reached the highest levels in 15 years. Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in the clashes instigated by India.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars since gaining independence from the British in 1947.

APP adds: Talking to mediamen at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said the delegation will visit the capital from Monday through Wednesday during which it will hold high-level talks with the World Bank officials on the project.

Aizaz expressed Pakistan’s serious concern over the project that has become operational and said that Islamabad had conveyed its strong opposition to the construction of the project to the World Bank but it had been ignored. India plans to undertake several such projects in the disputed territory.

He said as the World Bank was a guarantor of the treaty, it had to play its role in addressing Pakistan’s concerns over the project that had been constructed on waters flowing into Pakistan and would seriously disrupt supplies vital for the country’s agriculture.

Aizaz said the World Bank needed to intervene in the matter and it was the responsibility of the world body to fulfill its obligation being the guarantor of the international agreement.