World Bank no on dam row

Himalayan News Service

Islamabad, January 30:

The World Bank will only appoint a neutral expert to arbitrate between Pakistan and India on the Baglihar dam issue but will not involve itself in the dispute, a bank official has said.

“The bank will only appoint the neutral expert but will not participate in any discussion or exchange on the subject,” the official said. “The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty does not envisage a role for the World Bank in the determination of any issues which might be brought before a neutral expert,” the official asserted. “The World Bank was a signatory to the treaty for certain specified purposes, but was not its guarantor. Many of the purposes for which the World Bank signed the Treaty have been completed,” he said.

The official said the World Bank, which had brokered the treaty, would appoint the expert in “due time” in response to Pakistan’s request. But he declined to give a timeframe, saying the bank needed to review the case. The dispute centres over the construction of the $1 billion Baglihar hydropower dam on the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir.