Islamabad, 6 July, 2023 (GNP): The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) declared Pakistan’s case admissible against India, dismissing the latter’s objection to the global justice body in the matter concerning the change of designs in Kishanganga and Ratle Hydro Electric plants.
This ruling is a significant step forward in the legal battle between Islamabad and New Delhi, addressing Pakistan’s concerns over the controversial design of two hydropower projects on the Jehlum and Chenab rivers.
According to the sources, the court rejected the Indian objection and declared Pakistan’s case admissible. “It will now begin hearing the case on merit,” the sources added. This reinforces the global justice body’s commitment to ensuring fairness and justice in international disputes.
In 2007 Pakistan raised the matter in court following the water supply disruptions after New Delhi started working on the Kishanganga Hydropower project. Despite objections from Pakistan, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) allowed India to make conditional changes to the project design in 2013.
Pakistan raised three objections to the Kishanganga project’s design saying that the pondage of the project is 7.5 million cubic meters, which is excessive, and it should be one million cubic meters.
Secondly, Pakistan also demands that India raise the intake by up to 1-4 meters and increase the spillway’s height to nine meters.
The first hearing of the Kishanganga and Ratle Hydropower projects, with capacities of 330 MW and 850 MW respectively, took place on 27-28 January, signaling the commencement of the legal battle between the two nations.
Pakistan’s delegation, led by the Secretary of the Water Resources Ministry and comprised of Pakistan’s Commissioner of Indus Waters, senior officials of the Attorney General’s Office, and a team of international lawyers hired by the Government of Pakistan, would passionately advocate for justice and the protection of country’s interests.
Meanwhile, responding to media queries concerning the competence of the Court of Arbitration in The Hague to hear Pakistan-India water disputes, the Foreign Office spokesperson said, “The Government of Pakistan is in receipt of the Award of the Court of Arbitration, addressing its competence and the way forward on the disputes between Pakistan and India concerning the Kishanganga and Ratle Hydroelectric Projects; and, wider questions of the interpretation and application of the Indus Waters Treaty.”
The court had upheld its competence and determined that it will now move forward to address the issues in dispute, the spokesperson added.