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Water War: Pakistan’s battle for justice gets green light from International Court

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – According to sources, the International Court of Arbitration has declared Pakistan’s case against India admissible, dismissing India’s objection to the court’s jurisdiction over the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project.

The legal dispute between Islamabad and New Delhi began earlier this year to address Pakistan’s concerns about the controversial designs of two hydropower projects on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), a non-UN intergovernmental organization in The Hague, handles the case.

The sources revealed that the court rejected India’s objection and deemed Pakistan’s case admissible. They added that the court will now proceed with hearing the case on its merits.

Pakistan approached the court in 2007 when its water supply was affected due to India’s construction work on the Kishanganga project. In 2013, the PCA allowed India to make conditional changes to the project design.

India had sought to remove the case from the international court’s jurisdiction, but its objection was dismissed.

Pakistan raised three objections to the Kishanganga project’s design, including the excessive pondage of 7.5 million cubic meters, which Pakistan argued should be reduced to one million cubic meters. Pakistan also demanded that India raise the intake by up to 1-4 meters and increase the height of the spillways to nine meters.

The legal battle between the two nations began in January, focusing on the concerns raised by Pakistan regarding the controversial designs of the two hydropower projects.

The first hearing, which addressed the 330 MW Kishanganga and 850 MW Ratle Hydropower projects, occurred on January 27-28.

Pakistan’s delegation, led by the Secretary of the Water Resources Ministry and including Pakistan’s commissioner of Indus Waters, top officials from the Attorney General’s Office, and a team of international lawyers hired by the Government of Pakistan, will present the country’s case for justice.

The World Bank established the Court of Arbitration in response to Pakistan’s request and appointed a one-person neutral expert as requested by India. Sean Murphy was appointed as the Chairman of the Court of Arbitration (CoA), and the World Bank selected Michel Lino as the neutral expert on October 17.

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