Nirupama Subramanian

Media report on Baglihar dam "misleading"

  • Neutral expert's report confidential, says spokesperson
  • Final determination on the issue is expected by year-end

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday described an Indian media report on the Baglihar dam issue as "misleading" but refused to clarify further saying the neutral expert's interim determination was confidential and not up for discussion in public.

    A newspaper reported that the neutral expert had rejected Pakistan's claim that the dam, under construction on the Chenab in Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir, violated the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.

    Quoting official sources, the newspaper said the Swiss expert, Raymond Lafitte, had upheld the Indian position in his draft determination.

    Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said the report was "misleading." Asked to clarify, she said Pakistan observed the "honour code of confidentiality."

    "The neutral expert shared his report with our experts on the condition of confidentiality, and we don't break that," she said.

    Experts from both sides are expected to comment on the draft determination and will meet with Mr. Lafitte in November for consultations. The final determination on the issue is expected before year-end.

    "Interference"

    Islamabad has described remarks by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the situation in Pakistan as interference in its internal affairs.

    Information and Broadcasting Minister Mohammed Ali Durrani on Thursday said the remarks were "tantamount to interference in our internal affairs.

    Such an attitude is a violation of diplomatic norms and principles of inter-state relations."

    The Minister told reporters that such "aggressive" statements could jeopardise the ongoing dialogue process.

    He said the statements by Dr. Singh and Mr. Mukherjee were an attempt to divert the attention of people in India and the world from India's own problems.

    Mr. Durrani said the more than a dozen separatist movements in India were "a clear manifestation of the ill-treatment of the minorities and smaller communities at the hands of the Indian Government."