Pakistan will object to 2 Indian hydro projects in water talks

Foreign Office spokesperson says India needs to take corrective measures in IIOJK to move forward


Our Correspondent March 20, 2021
Foreign Office Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan will discuss with India a host of issues under the Indus Waters Treaty, including objections to the designs of Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydroelectric plants during a meeting of Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) in New Delhi next week, the Foreign Office said on Friday.

At the talks on Tuesday and Wednesday, Pakistan’s delegation, led by Indus Waters Commissioner Meher Ali Shah, will include officials from the relevant departments, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told a weekly news briefing here.

Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, the Permanent Indus Commission is required to meet at least once a year. The next meeting on March 23-24 will be 116th session of the commission. The forum discusses the water-related issues falling under the 1960 treaty.

During the meeting, Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told reporters, Pakistan would discuss with India a host of issues, including “our objections on the designs of Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydroelectric plants”.

In response to a query, Chaudhri said that Pakistan had always emphasised the need for a meaningful dialogue and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes with India, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

When asked about Indian foreign secretary’s statement regarding meaningful Pakistan-India dialogue, Chaudhri said such statements were not helpful in resolution of the disputes which were a hurdle in the way of peace and stability in the region.

“Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally-recognised dispute and the core issue between India and Pakistan. Pakistan has always underscored the need for a meaningful dialogue and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes with India,” he maintained.

He said that the Kartarpur initiative by Pakistan despite several challenges and the return of captured Indian pilot Abhinandan after the shooting down of two Indian fighter jets by the Pakistan Air Force were also indicative of Pakistan’s desire for lasting peace in the region.

“The onus is, therefore, on India to create the enabling environment necessary for a ‘meaningful engagement’. The current situation in IIOJK is neither tenable nor acceptable. India needs to take corrective measures in IIOJK to move forward,” he remarked.

The spokesperson said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is in touch with India on the issue of Cricket World Cup. Chaudhri reminded that provision of security to the players is the responsibility of the host country.

Afghan peace

The spokesman said a meeting on the Afghan peace process was under way in Moscow in which representatives of the US, Russia, Qatar, Afghanistan and Pakistan are participating. Pakistan’s Special Representative for the Afghan Process Muhammad Sadiq is representing Pakistan.

The spokesperson urged all Afghan sides to work together for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. He also supported an orderly and responsible withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan “as a precipitous withdrawal would create a vacuum for spoilers”.

About Pakistan’s view on US-China relations, the Foreign Office spokesperson said that Islamabad enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations with both Beijing and Washington.

“China is Pakistan’s time tested and all-weather strategic cooperative partner,” he said. “Pakistan also has longstanding comprehensive partnership with the US based on convergence of interests on a whole range of issues,” he added.

The spokesperson mentioned the role of a bridge played by Pakistan between the US and China in the past and said: “Pakistan continues to pursue policies that promote cooperation, peace and stability in the region and beyond.”

The spokesman said that the issue of visas was discussed in detail during the visit of the Kuwaiti foreign minister to Pakistan, adding that both the countries stressed the need for resolving this issue soon.

(With input from APP)

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