News Analysis |
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a meeting with President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim on the sidelines of the 73rd UNGA session. The meeting was centered on World Bank’s role in the implementation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) as its Administrator. According to a communiqué, the Foreign Minister presented Pakistan’s position on the Kishan Ganga and Ratle projects in a forceful and emphatic manner, saying the Indian construction of these projects represented a violation of the Treaty, which gave Pakistan exclusive rights to western rivers.
‘The procedural delay on Pakistan’s request to the World Bank to empanel the Court of Arbitration had resulted in the completion of the Kishan Ganga Projects while construction work on Ratle was in progress,’ emphasized the minister. Qureshi said the new government viewed this as a humanitarian issue endangering the lives and livelihood of millions while hastening to add that the incumbent regime was not interested in politicizing the issue.
The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan is upgrading its rail and road infrastructure to facilitate smooth flow of goods to its neighbors. He said Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad corridor and the Pakistan-Iran-Turkmenistan rail link were being made functional.
On the other hand, the President of the World Bank said he understood Pakistan’s position on the Treaty, expressing the Bank’s desire to play a constructive role in resolving this important matter at the earliest. ‘With the ongoing challenge of climate change, water issues were likely to be more prominent on the international agenda,’ said the World Bank president. Kim indicated that the World Bank was in the process of finalizing a fresh initiative and would soon be approaching Pakistan and India with details.
The interaction was conducted in a cordial and frank atmosphere as both the sides resolved to maintain regular contacts at various levels to seek an early and amicable settlement to the issue. Meanwhile, Shah Mahmood Qureshi attended the 25th Informal Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). The Foreign Minister, while recognizing the importance of the ECO platform, said Pakistan enjoys fraternal and brotherly relations with ECO member countries. He said these relations can be further strengthened with regional connectivity projects. He highlighted China Pakistan Economic Corridor as a great example of connectivity.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said there is a greater need to initiate energy projects. The Foreign Minister supported strengthening ECO Transit Trade Framework Agreement (TTFA), to act as a bridge between the North and the South, Europe, and Asia. The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan is upgrading its rail and road infrastructure to facilitate smooth flow of goods to its neighbors. He said Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad corridor and the Pakistan-Iran-Turkmenistan rail link were being made functional.
Talking to a Republican member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina Joe Wilson in New York, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan desires a broad-based relationship with the United States based on mutual trust and respect. Congressman Wilson emphasized the need for continued cooperation between the two countries for achieving their common objectives in the region.