According to sources, the Court of Arbitration denied New Delhi’s appeal to the global justice body’s jurisdiction over the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project, handing Pakistan a major legal victory over its arch-rival India.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an intergovernmental agency based in The Hague that is not affiliated with the United Nations.
According to the sources, the court overruled India’s objection and found Pakistan’s case admissible. “It will now begin hearing the case on merit,” according to the sources.
Islamabad approached the court in 2007 when the country’s water supply was disrupted after New Delhi began work on the Kishanganga project.
In 2013, the International Court of Arbitration granted India the right to make conditional amendments to the project design.
India had requested that the case be removed from the international court’s jurisdiction.
Pakistan made three objections to the design of the Kishanganga project, claiming that the pondage is 7.5 million cubic metres, which is excessive and should be one million cubic metres. Pakistan also wants India to elevate the intake by up to 1-4 metres and the spillways by up to nine metres.
The judicial struggle between the two countries began in January to resolve Pakistan’s concerns about the disputed designs of two hydroelectric projects being built on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers.
The first hearing for the 330 MW Kishenganga and 850 MW Ratle hydropower projects was held on January 27 and 28.
Pakistan’s delegation, led by the secretary of the Water Resources Ministry and including Pakistan’s commissioner of Indus Waters, top officials from the Attorney General’s Office, and a team of international lawyers hired by the Government of Pakistan, would argue the country’s case for justice.
On Pakistan’s request, the World Bank established the Court of Arbitration. Similarly, it developed a one-man neutral expert as India asked.
On October 17, the World Bank named Sean Murphy as chairman of the Court of Arbitration (CoA) and Michel Lino as a neutral expert.