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Pak threatens for third party arbitration

world Updated: Oct 14, 2008 13:56 IST
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Pakistan on Tuesday threatened to go for third party arbitration if, it said, India does not compensate it for the loss of two million acre feet of water due to an alleged reduction in the flow of the Chenab River.

Accusing India of diverting water from the Chenab to fill the Baglihar dam in Jammu and Kashmir, Indus Waters Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah said Islamabad will neither drop its claim nor "sell" its share of Chenab waters.

Shah's comments came days after President Asif Ali Zardari warned that a row over the sharing of waters of the Indus river system could affect bilateral ties.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Lahore on Monday, Shah said he would take up Pakistan's claim for the diverted Chenab waters when he goes to India with a delegation on October 18.

"India will have to compensate Pakistan during the coming Rabi season. Otherwise, Islamabad will resort to other treaty mechanisms to get its due share," he said.

Pakistan has no objection to the design of the Baglihar dam, which was changed by India on the recommendations of a World Bank-appointed neutral expert. But India has to observe the criteria for filling the dam, which were not part of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, he said.

"If India insists on its rights under the treaty it also has to observe its duties that exclude tampering with the Chenab flows. It is under a treaty obligation to release 55,000 cusecs even when filling the lake," he said.

Pakistan will ask India to release the water that was allegedly diverted for Rabi crops during November-April, Shah said.

During his visit to India, Shah will visit the Baglihar dam and participate in a meeting of the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters.