Pak clean chit: Minister says India never blocked water | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Pak clean chit: Minister says India never blocked water

delhi Updated: Oct 08, 2010 01:35 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
Jayanth Jacob

Pakistan seems to have given India another chance to feel vindicated on a contentious issue. Pakistan water and power minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told the Pakistan National Assembly last Thursday that India had never blocked its share of water from rivers flowing from Kashmir, barring a brief period of one week in 2008.

Ashraf said India didn't have the capabilities to block the flow of Pakistan's share of water because it had only run-of-river projects over the Chenab and Sutlej, which New Delhi has reiterated whenever Pakistan raised the issue of blocking its water.

Former President Pervez Musharraf had also given India a reason to feel vindicated when he said in an interview that Pakistan had trained militant underground groups to fight against India in Kashmir.

The Centre reacted by saying these assertions confirmed the veracity of what India had been saying all along.

The water issue has been raked up by different quarters in Pakistan, including Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. There were demands for a relook at the 1960 Indus water treaty brokered by the World Bank.

Pakistan also handed over a non-paper on water when the foreign secretaries of the two countries met in New Delhi early this year.

The Pakistan minister said that in August 2008, the flow of the Chenab river was affected by the construction of the Baglihar dam for a week. Ashraf said Pakistan's criticism was mostly based on misunderstandings.

"It vindicates what we have been saying on the water issue. The fact is that we haven't even used water entitled to us under the Indus water treaty," said an Indian official.