Pakistan has reiterated its opposition to the construction of the Wullar barrage by India in Kashmir on the plea that it is violative of the Indus Water Treaty and could harm the nation’s interests in terms of water availability downstream for different usages.
Mohammed Ismail Qureshi, Pakistan’s water resources secretary, expressed these views during the ongoing secretary-level India-Pakistan dialogue on the issue. The two-day talks started here on Thursday.
Qureshi’s claim was vehemently opposed by his Indian counterpart, Gauri Chatterjee. “Our point of view is that the Wullar barrage is a navigation project aimed at regularizing flow of water into the Jhelum. It is in the benefit of both India and Pakistan,” she told media-persons.
Although both sides claimed that the talks were being held in a ‘cordial’ atmosphere, it is learnt that they have stuck to their stated positions and forwarded arguments in favour of their respective stands on the Wullar barrage issue — indicating that a solution is unlikely to materialise in a hurry.
As a counter to India’s claim, the Pakistani team said the proposal mooted by New Delhi clearly pointed to the fact that the project will be a man-made reservoir. “The Indus Water Treaty does
not permit storage of water on the main stream of Jhelum,” Qureshi pointed out.
The talks will continue on Friday, and the two sides are expected to continue the dialogue in an attempt to break the logjam. They are also slated to issue a joint statement at the end of the talks.
However, chances of a significant breakthrough are negligible, sources privy to the deliberations told HT.