Pak seeks WB mediation in J&K dam row

Associated Press

Islamabad, January 18:

Pakistan today said it would take a long-running dispute over a dam India is building in Kashmir to the World Bank, and warned that the simmering disagreement could hurt efforts to reach a permanent peace between the two nuclear-armed rivals. India is building the Baglihar dam in its portion of the Himalayan region, and Pakistan fears it will deprive its main agricultural province of water for irrigation. It claims the dam is a violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty. Talks in New Delhi collapsed earlier this month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan told The Associated Press the decision to seek mediation from the World Bank was reached after months of frustration. “India has inordinately delayed the process... and pressed ahead with the construction of the dam in violation of the treaty, so we have taken the decision to approach the World Bank,” he said. India, meanwhile, said today that Pakistan’s decision to seek the mediation was not justified. “We do not believe that a reference to the World Bank is justified,” foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters.