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Revocation of Indus Waters Treaty can be taken as an act of conflict: Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday told the Senate that revocation of the Indus Waters Treaty by India “can be taken as an act of war” against Pakistan.

“The Indus Waters Treaty is quoted as perhaps the most successful water treaty ever conducted between the two countries. Its provocation can be taken as an act of war or a hostile act against Pakistan,” Aziz told lawmakers.

“If India tries to interrupt water flow into Pakistan, it will not only violate the Indus Water Treaty, but also set a regional state practice under which international law can be serve as a precedent. It will provide China, for example, a justification to consider of suspension of waters of the Brahmaputra river,” he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday decided to suspend Indus Water Commission talks until “Pakistan-sponsored terror” in India ends, according to Indian media reports.

Aziz’s statements come amidst reports that India plans to accelerate building of new hydro-power plants along three rivers that flow into Pakistan. Modi told officials on Monday that India should use more of the rivers’ resources, Reuters reported, quoting sources familiar with the plans.

Read more: India to speed up hydropower building on rivers flowing into Pakistan

According to our assessments, India is not following the option of revoking the treaty but it is trying to use provisions of the treaty to construct run of the river projects, Aziz said, adding that it was possible India would misuse these provisions by constructing structures which are not allowed under the treaty, according to Radio Pakistan.

Pakistan is identifying all the possible misuses and activities that India can undertake to interfere in the treaty as well as its implementation, he said.

Jamaat-i-Islami chief Siraj-ul-Haq in Senate said that India had been constructing dams on the Kabul river in collaboration with the Afghan government in order to make Pakistan’s land barren.

Senator Sherry Rehman said that India has adopted a policy of water terrorism against Pakistan. The Indus Water Treaty is an international treaty that India cannot revoke unilaterally, she said. If it does so, it will be illegal and will set a precedence for China, being upper riparian, to divert waters of Brahmaputra, she added.

Earlier in the day, Aziz addressed the National Assembly saying that provocative statements and actions from the Indian leadership on the Indus Waters Treaty are a violation of international laws and breach of the treaty.

Pakistan will ‘react befittingly’ if India attempts to violate the Indus Waters Treaty, the adviser told the NA.

Pakistan will not accept any pressure from India and will continue to highlight human rights violations perpetrated by Indian forces in India-held Kashmir (IHK), Aziz said.

Pakistan is gaining the support of the international community on the issue, Aziz said, and is considering briefing the P5 countries ─ China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States ─ on the dangers of suspending the treaty.

There is no provision of suspension in the treaty, Aziz said, adding that India cannot revoke the treaty unilaterally.

The adviser pointed out that the treaty was not suspended even during wars between the two countries.

The NA passed a unanimous resolution moved by Syed Naveed Qamar condemning India’s claim a day earlier in the United Nations General Assembly that “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so”.

The resolution said Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in her speech at the UNGA ignored the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is still on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, and that IHK is universally accepted as a disputed territory.

The resolution also said the Modi government has a history of threats and holds ‘the misguided belief’ that Pakistan will move away from extending support to Kashmiris.

The House believes that peace and progress are dependent upon good neighbourly relations and the only way forward is through constructive dialogue, not threats being issued by the Indian PM to unilaterally terminate the treaty, the resolution said.

It added that the hostile environment being perpetuated by the Indian government will not be in the best interests of peace and stability in the region.

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