ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee was informed yesterday that the World Bank had just brokered the Indus Water Treaty , but was not a guarantor of it.

“It is incorrect that the World Bank was a guarantor of the Indus Water Treaty . The bank had brokered the treaty and facilitated negotiations between Pakistan and India,” Indus Water Commission Additional Commissioner Sheraz Memon told the Senate Standing Committee here. The World Bank was not a guarantor of the water treaty except its two provisions, he added. The World Bank’s role was just limited to the accord’s two articles which relate to appointment of neutral experts and the Court of Arbitration chairman,” he maintained.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, chaired by Senator Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir, discussed the Indus Water Treaty in the backdrop of the statements of Indian leadership regarding unilateral revocation of the treaty, its repercussions, Pakistan’s stance and preparedness to combat a war-like situation. The Senate had referred the matter to the standing committee for consideration and report till October 3, 2016.

The committee asked the Water and Power Ministry to make an alternative strategy to counter Pakistan’s water, blocking threats of India. The ministry was further directed to devise an alternative plan to cope with the situation if India revoked the Indus Waters Treaty.

Minister of State Abid Sher Ali informed the committee that the World Bank had also offered to broker a deal with Afghanistan on the River Kabul. He further stated that Pakistan needed to develop reservoirs to stop water from going into the sea from downstream Kotri.

Sheraz Memon informed the committee that the treaty was signed in 1960 between India and Pakistan. According to the Treaty, Pakistan is entitled to unrestricted use of all those waters of the western rivers which India is under obligation to allow its flow under the provisions of paragraph 2 of the treaty. “India shall be under an obligation to let all the waters of the western rivers and shall not permit any interference with these waters while India shall not store any water or construct any storage works on the western rivers. Under the treaty, the water of three western rivers will be given to Pakistan whereas the waters of three eastern rivers will be for India. Pakistan can only irrigate 45,000 acres of land with the water of the River Ravi. Both the countries were free to use their allocated rivers.

“Eastern rivers (Sutlej, Beas and Ravi) allocated to India (33 MAF), except domestic and agricultural uses, Western Rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) allocated to Pakistan (137 MAF), except domestic, agricultural, non-consumptive and hydroelectric uses,” he added. Out of the total 33 MAF water flow of eastern rivers, Pakistan was using 24 MAF water.

The additional commissioner said setting up of run-of-the river hydroelectric projects by India with reservoirs creates issues.

The committee, however, raised concerns that if India takes 2 MAF water for agriculture purposes in addition to already agreed 2.85 MAF water, it will be around 5 MAF. India can irrigate 1.339 million acres of land with the water of rivers allocated to Pakistan.

Today, India can manipulate 94,309 acres feet water of the Chanab out of a total 20.25 million acres feet water of the river. However, New Delhi may be able to control Pakistani share of water after some years, particularly of the River Chenab, the officials of the ministry, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) and Indus Water Commission told the Senate SPECIAL COMMittee on Water and Power. On the River Jhelum, India is constructing 14 hydropower plants, including two big projects. On the Chenab, it has constructed 17 hydro projects, the additional commissioner added. As per the agreement, India has to get its design approved from Pakistan before the execution of the hydro projects, he asserted.

There is no guarantor of the treaty, but in case of violation, a mechanism has been provided in the Article 9 of the treaty, Memon explained.

Senator Nisar Muhammad said a full-house committee should be constituted to formulate a long-term policy on water issues.