Nimoo-Bazgo project: Pakistan to take dam dispute to world court

Published: January 3, 2012
Pakistan’s PCIW had repeatedly sought information from his Indian counterpart and its inclusion in the agenda items, but India failed to respond until December 2006.

Pakistan’s PCIW had repeatedly sought information from his Indian counterpart and its inclusion in the agenda items, but India failed to respond until December 2006.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is gearing up for yet another legal battle over India’s ‘aggression’ on the country’s water rights and securing international carbon credits on hydropower projects disputed by Pakistan.

The latest case under dispute is the construction of the controversial 45-MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project on the Indus River by India, after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani approved challenging the project in the International Court of Arbitration (ICA).

The two countries have met in similar circumstances on the international forum twice before, once over the construction of Baglihar dam in Indian-administered Kashmir and the second time over the construction of Kishanganga dam on the Neelum River at Gurez, also in Kashmir.

Baglihar dam was constructed by India with a 450-MW power generation capacity on the Chenab River.  Pakistan had challenged the construction of Baglihar before neutral experts but the decision went against it. However, ICA barred India from permanent constructions on the Kishanganga hydro-electricity project (KHEP) on the Neelum River in a short term order but the final decision is yet to come.

A senior official of the ministry of water and power told The Express Tribune that the prime minister had approved a summary to file a case in ICA on the construction of Nimoo-Bazgo dam.

“The decision of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to grant carbon credits to India on the Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project would also be challenged along with the construction of the dam by India,” the official said. India had secured carbon credits for the 45-MW Nimoo-Bazgo hydropower project from the UN agency without mandatory clearance from Pakistan.

The official went on to add that adviser to the prime minister on water issues Kamal Majeedullah was working to hire a team of international lawyers to file a case in the Netherlands before ICA.

An earlier inquiry into the case, conducted by secretary of Water and Power Development Authority Muhammad Imtiaz Tajwar blamed Pakistan’s former Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah for causing delay in dealing with the construction of the Nimoo-Bazgo project. The inquiry claimed that Shah had lost the opportunity to take the issue to ICA and a neutral expert.

However, Tajwar had failed to establish how India could secure carbon credits when Pakistan had not seen, let alone clear, the cross-boundary environmental impact assessment report, a source told The Express Tribune, adding that throughout the inquiry, Tajwar failed to present documentary evidence relating to carbon credits.

According to the inquiry, the information about the project was received in Pakistan in 2002 and Pakistan’s PCIW had repeatedly sought information from his Indian counterpart and its inclusion in the agenda items, but India failed to respond until December 2006.

During an inspection, the Pakistani team had learnt that 80 per cent of the work on the dam had been completed and the expected date for its inauguration was August 2012.

“It would take the Pakistani team about six months to establish the case in ICA and India would have completed the dam by then,” an official said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Prashant
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:15AM

    Pakistani Brothers and Sister are you opposing this dam project just because it is project of India or there is any other reason. I wonder what would be your reaction if this dam was build by Your all weather friend China.


  • ashok sai
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:20AM

    Carbon credits were approved way ago in 2008, all these years Pakistan was sleeping or what ?


  • Pani
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:39AM

    Dear Brother Prashant,
    Water that flows to Pakistan, need to get to Pakistan. No matter who’s building the Dam China or India, it’s wrong.
    Indus civilization is thriving on it all the way to the sea. Being in our shoes, let’s assume if we built a Dam on Ganga and divert the water to Pakistan if Kashmir was under our control, what would your reaction have been? Water has it’s natural flow to Pakistan and it shouldn’t be stopped!


  • RS
    Jan 3, 2012 - 10:45AM

    Now this is definitely a better way to settle it than trying to infiltrate terrorist to bomb the dams..!


  • Asif Shaikh
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:01AM

    Dear Prashant . its the matter of mutual trust .china has never blocked pakistani waters or released flood waters making Pakistan in trouble .India has already DIVERTED indus waters using these Dams in the name Power Projects . we have always gone 2 steps ahead against any positive initiatives taken by India, china. so we will never disappoint you brother if some positive steps are taken in good faith by Indian side.


  • Kafka
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:05AM

    Instead of building new dams of its own to fight energy crisis, Pakistan is taking India to court for dams that it is building. Instead the two sides can agree to sharing the benifits and costs of these dams. If wishes were horses…………


  • khan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:14AM

    we are behaving like typical cry babies once again. India is sure to go through this project as most of them are Run – off the stream projects where water cannot be stored but only used to generate electricity. Our deeper than sea friend China has built massive dams blocking water to Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand etc Tomorrow they will be making dams in occupied Tibet. What are we going to do then?


  • Jan 3, 2012 - 11:21AM

    It would take the Pakistani team about
    six months to establish the case in
    ICA and India would have completed the
    dam by then

    Worst case if the decision goes against India, would they ask to demolish the dam?!


    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:23AM

    Belated decision by Pakistan would not help their cause though not really justified and moreover this dam would be completed in just three months time.


  • Hari Karnani
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:20PM

    @ Pani, for your information, Ganga originates in the province of Uttarakhand and not in Kashmir of India.


  • from India
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:32PM

    India will share water with Pakistan equitable to the amount required by both the countries. All Pakistan has to do is to talk in a negotiation table !!


  • Indian
    Jan 3, 2012 - 12:43PM

    Best of luck Pakistan!!! One more international venture you are putting your hands into now… And the key word is ‘International’ meaning inter – national = between India and Pakistan… No one else will figure in between..


  • Ihsan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 1:10PM

    We should fight for our rights.


  • Adnan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:33PM

    Hay India what do you think you can stop our water by doing all these fake projects no way yoy can’t change nature. OK. Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:48PM

    According to the treaty Indian can not and will not build dam on the three rivers which flow in to Pakistan .It is clear mentioned no stoppage of water or no water gates can be constructed .The treaty is an international document and is available on the web .India is now going against the treaty and blocking Pakistans water .


  • Powerbaj
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:52PM

    Agreed. But are you sure you are losing any water to India? I am sure the Pakistani government is aware that no Pakistani rights are violated. They go to international courts only to appease or silence opposition, or find someone like the international courts to blame.


  • Raj
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:55PM

    Is not Pakistan proposing to import Diesel and Electricity from India? Read Business section of ET.


  • Powerbaj
    Jan 3, 2012 - 2:55PM

    @Asif Shaikh:
    This is the problem. Can anyone prove that India has diverted water for its own needs? Or do you have any inside information that China has not done it?
    For your information, you gave a part of Kashmir to China on a platter, while you fight for the part which is with India. Such is your mindset that you will always have issues with India.


  • Bangladeshi
    Jan 3, 2012 - 3:42PM

    India always want all the water for themselves and they are felling more confident about defying Intl law making every Intl river their property since they have become the 2nd Israel of
    uncle sam.


  • It's (still) the economy, stupid
    Jan 3, 2012 - 4:30PM

    Hold it guys, think out side the box use your brain and not emotions. The bitter truth is that there is shortage of electricity in Pakistan and it has no money to buy electricity or build new dams. Why not negotiate with India and get 5-10% of electricity generated from each dam? A negotiated win-win situation for all parties concerned.


  • ProudPakistani
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:39PM

    A veryyy Timely decision by govt…
    & asusual our neighbours…Well what else we can expect from them…


  • Diogenes
    Jan 3, 2012 - 5:41PM

    The Indus Waters Treaty specifically allows for India to build run-of-the-river projects. These projects do not permit diversion of water for irrigation canals but are pure hydroelectric power projects. Moreover, the people who will benefit the most from these projects are the Kashmiris.


  • Ashvinn
    Jan 3, 2012 - 6:04PM

    A good decision by Pakistan. One wonders why the pak govt took so long to plead its case. Any sensible decision by Pakistan better Recommend

  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Jan 3, 2012 - 6:24PM

    Once again Pakistan is trying to create an anti india feeling among its people . EIA of the project has been cleared and carbon credit has been granted by the U N body,therefore the decision of the case will has to be in fevoure of India . It it simply a political move to divert the attention of the people of Pakistan from other issues .


  • Pani
    Jan 3, 2012 - 8:27PM

    @Hari Karnani, I used the word assume my friend. Whole world knows two days after losing the semi-final Chenab was running full fledged. don’t you think it’s too much of a coincident? when river had been dried for over six month and without a single drop of rain two days later it’s running full? enough of dirty politics! it won’t get us anywhere! look around you where the world is going and where you n I are stuck?


  • Muhammad Sadiq
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:03PM

    I think we, both nations should talk with each other rather than battle. We should protect our interests but not destroy others.


  • Devils advice
    Jan 3, 2012 - 11:35PM

    As long as Pakistan FLOW its TERROR in India ,INDIA should STOP, FLOW of WATER to Pakistan.

    It is as simple as it get,

    India were complaining about Terrroist from Pakistan for decades ,Now its Pakistan turn to go over world and complain.

    Time do change and it will hit you up ,If you dont respect it.


  • Babloo
    Jan 4, 2012 - 1:18AM

    Pakistan has wasted more mnoney, time and resources in trying to litigate India on hydro-power development in India and trying to delay Indian projects and less time and resources on developing hydel-power on the rivers flowing in its territory.

    On almost all occasion, the international court of neutral experts , has thrown away Pakistani objects as without any merit ( at most asking for some cosmetic changes ). The only people making money are the lawers that Pakistan hires which it cannot afford.


  • Cynical
    Jan 4, 2012 - 2:56AM

    One solution is, India and Pakistan mearge to become one country like West and East Germany did. Then no one is stealing the other’s water.Ha…Ha….Ha…..


  • Dr. Who!
    Jan 4, 2012 - 3:51AM

    “Worst case if the decision goes against India, would they ask to demolish the dam?!”


    If Pakistan can prove that bribing of Jamaat Ali Shah by India played a role, then India could be ordered to dismantle the dam and incure a heavy penalty.

    Bribery is an international crime; parties offering and accepting bribes are committing a crime.
    Run of the flow projects exclude dams or any other physical obstruction which impedes flow of water.

    Non commercial fishing, boating and swimming may be appropriate “run of flow the projects.”


  • Jan 4, 2012 - 7:40AM

    India has always acted honorably even when Pakistan was the aggressor in 4 wars. India has shown patience and good manners even when 26/11 happened. Why would it not continue to act the same now?

    Pakistani are creating hype and helping sustain anti-India sentiments. India is not going to be least bit bothered, because it is the Pakistanis who are going to be consumed by hate if this continues, and the process of self-destruction has already started.

    For your own sake stop this victim-hood mentality. Recommend

  • Udaya Bose
    Jan 4, 2012 - 10:20AM

    @Dr. Who!:
    Jamaat Ali Shah did not need to be bribed. He was simply handicapped. It has already been publicly acknowledged in Pakistan that Pakistan does not have the technical expertise to discuss these issues meaningfully during meetings of the Indus Waters Commissioners. Taking a matter to the ICA for political reasons will be futile. You need to have the technical competence to justify your case. Even Kishanganga will finally go in India’s favour on merits. All that will be left to Pakistan would be to cry “conspiracy-CIA-RAW-Mossad etc.etc.”
    Think positive it will do your country much good.


  • Vigilant
    Jan 4, 2012 - 3:31PM

    If this continues……..Water & Dam problems will be solved by Weapons & WAR…..thats why Quaid Said Kashmir is Pakistan’s SHAH RAG……India is also building Dam on Bangladeshi Rivers…..


  • Dr. Who!
    Jan 4, 2012 - 7:16PM

    @Udaya Bose: “All that will be left to Pakistan would be to cry “conspiracy-CIA-RAW-Mossad etc.etc.””

    Mr. Bose: Please read my post carefully. I did not “cry” any conspiracy, I raised a technical and legal point.
    Also exploiting incompetence, corruption and laziness of Pakistani bureaucrats is illegal as it contravences the Indus Water Treaty.
    These rivers are our joint heritage.
    Indus-Ganga river system has given us our identity and sustained life and civililaztions for thousands of years.
    Short sighted and greedy leaders are bent upon killing these golden egg laying gooses for a quick profits.
    Dams; regardless how well they are designed and built, have limited life span.
    They will be rendered useless in few decades as they silt up and die but by then the River system would have irreversably been destroyed.
    It would be wise to move away from these suicidal misadventures.
    Also the whole area is seismically active and it is well established that dams increase the risk of an earthquake.
    This is a lose-lose situation for both our countries.


  • Mahad
    Jan 4, 2012 - 10:08PM

    Your country is violating the international agreement and you are suggesting we should remain quite. China has moral ethics and they follow the rules. They (China ) do not stab you at your back ……… @Prashant: Recommend

  • Jan 5, 2012 - 9:52AM

    Oh! you mean to say you know the rules better than the governments! Please find in your governmental quotes if anyone has said it to be against the international law. The answer is NO.
    What you ‘experts’ (you people call them that!) say on your media is that India is ‘building capacity’ on its side quite a distance away from the border which technically is not violating the agreement. So, you can find other reasons for whining that India was not fair. Better do some research before talking/blaming.. Those apparently are your national past times….


    Jan 11, 2012 - 12:38AM

    Truth is corrupt Pakistan officials were bribed by India to delay litigative action against India. These sell outs are bursting at the seam in Pakistan. It’s not only hydel projects, India is rediverting water of our rives to India states. I think Pakistan will only wake up only when Pakistan has finally become a barren land. All those governments since 1980’s are criminaly involved in this blunder.Recommend

  • Cynical
    Jan 11, 2012 - 4:02AM


    Too much water at least for you is no good.Actually India is helping you from being flooded,which in any case you become every year.


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