On Monday, a five-member Pakistani delegation led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will attend the 118th bilateral meeting on the Indus Water Treaty in New Delhi. The party landed in India the day before through the Wagah border.
Both parties will discuss the topic of advance flood information and the annual report of the Permanent Commission of Indus Waters at the meeting (PCIW). According to the Dawn, they would also address the 1,000 MW Pakal Dul hydropower project, which is being developed by India on the west-flowing rivers under Article IX of the Indus Waters Treaty, as well as the 48 MW Lower Kalnai and 624 MW Kiru project.
The head of the Pakistan delegation and Commissioner of Indus Waters, Syed Mehr Ali Shah said, “There will be talks on the sharing of flood forecast data while the PCIW (Pakistan Commission for Indus Waters) annual report will also be discussed during the negotiations.”
“This would be the 118th bilateral meeting at the PCIW level. Earlier, both countries held three-day talks in Islamabad on March 2-4, 2022,” he added.
He further said that the Pakistani delegation will not visit the under-construction Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnaj dams, but will hold a discussion with India on the matter and other projects, the Dawn reported.
“Pakistan has always insisted on the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty and raised its voice on India’s behaviour in a timely manner,” Mr Shah added.
The two nations will meet at the PCIW level in New Delhi for the next two days to address water concerns, as the country continues to suffer from a severe water shortage.
Sherry Rehman, the head of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s climate change taskforce, warned this week that Pakistan was one of the world’s three most water-stressed countries and could face scarcity by 2025 if conservation and climate change mitigation measures were not taken, according to the Dawn.
According to the study, experts have been warning about the country’s water scarcity for the last four months, after the country had 26% less snowfall last winter than in prior years, followed by a dry period in March and April. If the issue was not addressed, the slower melting of glaciers will exacerbate the shortages.
Chief Engineer of Punjab Irrigation Department, Director General of Met Office, General Manager of National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK), and Director General of Minister of Foreign Affairs on India desk make up the five-member team led by Pakistan Commissioner Syed Mehr Ali Shah (DG MoFA). According to The News International, the group will return on June 1.