Earlier, PCA rejected India’s objections challenging court’s jurisdiction.

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ISLAMABAD: From September 20 to 21 at The Hague, a neutral expert is set to fight the legal battle between Pakistan and India over the controversial design of the 330 MW Kishanganga and 850 MW Ratle hydropower projects.

A senior official of the Attorney General’s Office told The News that “Pakistan’s delegation comprising the Commissioner of Indus Waters of Pakistan, senior officials of the Attorney General’s Office and a team of international lawyers hired by the Government of Pakistan , will advocate for the justice of the nation’s trial.” .

Earlier, a court of impartial experts was scheduled to take place on 27-28 February 2023 to finalize the rules of procedure on how to handle India’s legal battle over the design of the two projects on Pakistan’s rivers. It should be carried forward.

India has constructed the Kishanganga project on the Jhelum river and is in the process of constructing the Ratle project on the Chenab river.

Pakistan is fighting its case in two forums – a neutral expert set up by the World Bank at the behest of New Delhi and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at the behest of Islamabad. India was reluctant to argue its case in the PCA because it feared that Pakistan would surely win its case in the seven-member PCA. Now India has no choice but to participate in the PCA proceedings. On July 7, 2023, the PCA rejected six of India’s objections challenging the jurisdiction of the ongoing court to hear the case, and held that the court was entitled to the arbitration clause set out in Pakistan’s request for arbitration. Competent to consider disputes.

In its detailed Award d’Adair on July 7, the court accepted Pakistan’s position and confirmed its competence, rejecting India’s objections. With regard to India’s non-appearance before the Court, the PCA concluded that the non-appearance of a party did not deprive the Court of jurisdiction, nor did it affect the establishment and functioning of the Court, including Final and binding nature. its awards.

At the same time, India’s non-appearance does not detract from the Court’s obligation to confirm that it is competent and has jurisdiction over the dispute before it.

Pakistan wants to settle its disputes through arbitration. India opposed this and blocked the process by filing a parallel application for the appointment of a neutral expert. After filing a parallel application, India challenged the arbitration list saying that parallel proceedings could not take place under the treaty. India wanted the court to declare the PCA illegal.

“The court has now accepted Pakistan’s position and rejected six of India’s objections, paving the way for the arbitral tribunal to begin hearing on the merits of Pakistan’s claim that the designs of the two projects were based on the 1961 are in violation of the Indus Water Treaty.

India fears that Pakistan’s case is too strong and if New Delhi loses the battle, it will not be able to build future projects with poundages and spillways on Pakistani rivers, the official said. To disrupt the PCA proceedings, New Delhi issued a notice to Pakistan on January 25, requesting modification of the agreement, two days before the court hearing on January 27-28.

India had extended the notice using Article 12 of the treaty. However, Pakistan sent its reply to India in the first week of April 2023, saying it was ready to listen to New Delhi’s concerns about the ongoing agreement at the level of the Permanent Commission on Indus Waters (PCIW).

Pakistan has raised three objections to the design of the Kishan Ganga project, saying that the project pond is 7.5 million cubic meters which is more than required and should be 1 million cubic meters. Pakistan also wants India to raise the intake by 1-4 meters and raise the spillways up to nine meters.

Islamabad raised four objections on Ratle Hydropower Plant issue. Pakistan wants India to maintain the freeboard at one meter while India wants to keep it at two meters. Apart from this, India wants to have a pond of 24 million cubic meters, but Pakistan wants to limit it to eight million cubic meters. Pakistan also wants the project’s intake to be increased to 8.8 meters and its spillways to be raised to 20 meters.

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