Pakistan, India IWT Lahore talks take off March 20-21

– Syed Hameed Shaheen Alvi
ISLAMABAD – The much cliff hanging Indus Water Treaty talks between Pakistan and India would now be held in the third of week of the current month at Lahore for two days. Observers have welcomed this long awaited rendezvous between two often off-the-mood neighbors.
IWT dialogue between Pakistan and India on various aspects will be held as agreed in Lahore on March 20 and March 21.
The meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) will take place nearly six months after New Delhi decided to suspend talks on the pact in the wake of the Uri terror attack by Pakistan-based outfits.
The meeting is being held “as the IWT, 1960 makes it mandatory” to hold parleys under the accord at least once in a fiscal year.
As per reports Pakistan’s Member of Water Commission and India’s Indus water commissioner and MEA officials will be part of the respective delegations for this annual meeting. The last meeting of the PIC was held in May 2015 here.
India had on Friday reportedly downplayed its participation in the upcoming meeting in Pakistan to discuss various aspects relating to sharing of Indus river water, saying it does not amount to resumption of government-level Indo-Pak talks.
The Indus Water commission, which has officials from both the countries as its members, was set up under the treaty to discuss and resolve lateral issues relating to its implementation.
It is in violation of the IWT clauses that India is building an underground hyrdo-power house at Kanjjarwara over the river Kishanganga/Neelum river in Gureiz Valley across south eastern Neelum Valley. Pakistan objects to the construction of this power project recalling IWT violations.

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