Finance Minister sent letter to President of World Bank Group and responds to World Bank’s decision to “pause” the process of empanelment of Court of Arbitration

Islamabad, December 24, 2016 (PPI-OT):Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar sent a letter to Mr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, Washington D.C. and responded to the World Bank’s decision to “pause” the process of empanelment of the Court of Arbitration. Finance Minister emphasized in his letter that this decision of the World Bank will seriously prejudice Pakistan’s interests and rights under the Indus Waters Treaty (1960). The letter from the Finance Minister is a response to the President World Bank’s letter of 12th December, 2016.

The letter to the President World Bank has been sent with approval of all concerned stakeholders and strongly conveys that the matter of appointment of a Chairman of the Court of Arbitration has been inordinately delayed, while urging the World Bank to execute its obligations under the Indus Waters Treaty as the “chosen appointing authority” and “appoint the Chairman of the Court of the Arbitration Indus Waters Treaty, expeditiously”.

Finance Minister noted that the “pause” proposed by the President World Bank Group will merely prevent Pakistan from approaching a competent forum and having its grievances addressed. The letter from the Finance Minister notes that the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 does not provide for a situation wherein a Party can “pause” performance of its obligations under the Treaty.

The Finance Minister has stated that the letter of 12th December 2016 from the World Bank is a departure from the World Bank’s earlier position conveyed in its letter of 18thOctober 2016 in which it was stated: “The Bank’s role is limited in character, and relates only to the exercise of procedural functions which do not touch upon the factual or legal merits of the contested issues”. The Finance Minister emphasized that as acknowledged by the World Bank, “the Bank has a well-defined role, which should remain consistent with the provisions of the Treaty”.

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