Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, has confirmed that the country will not allow India to unilaterally modify the Indus Waters Treaty, which manages water resources between the two nations.
Responding to a calling-attention notice in the Senate, the minister stressed that any changes to the treaty must be agreed upon by both parties. She claimed that a vague letter from India seeking the treaty’s revision had been issued by the Modi government for domestic consumption as elections were due in India next year. The minister also accused India of deliberately accusing Pakistan of violating the treaty, with no clarity on how such violations had been committed. She added that the Permanent Indus Commission, as defined in the treaty, was the appropriate forum to raise and discuss concerns. Pakistan had raised objections to the construction of controversial dams, including Baglihar, Kishan Ganga, and Ratle, by India on the rivers meant for Pakistan, and work was underway to enhance water storage capacity in the country.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), expressed concern that Pakistan had not given an effective, solid, and bold response to India’s notice of January 25 seeking the treaty’s revision. He suggested that national unity was essential to counter India, pointing to a message given by China during his recent tour that all political parties should work for the interests of Pakistan and its people by going beyond their party lines and personal political affiliations.
In another highlight of the day’s proceedings, Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan proposed forming a separate court to hear constitutional cases, in addition to a federal Supreme Court for normal cases. The minister revealed that there were over 380,000 cases pending in superior courts, with the Lahore High Court having the highest number of cases at 179,425. The proposal was made in response to a calling-attention notice on the issue of pending cases.
Pakistan’s commitment to the Indus Waters Treaty and its efforts to enhance water storage capacity in the country are commendable. However, national unity is essential to counter external threats, including India’s attempts to revise the treaty. The proposal to form a separate court for constitutional cases could help reduce the backlog of pending cases, but its feasibility needs to be assessed in light of the existing legal system.