For the last fifty-seven years, the Indus Water Treaty has withstood wars, conflicts and economic crisis in Pakistan and India. The continuation of this treaty is integral for peace between Pakistan and India, as well for maintaining stability in both of the countries, both of which face a serious threat of water scarcity.

This is why it is disappointing to see Pakistan and India’s two day talks on the Indus Water Treaty, mediated by World Bank, have concluded with both sides unable to reach an agreement. The issue was over India’s construction of two hydroelectric plants on the tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers, a move that India interprets as fair use under the treaty and Pakistan sees as a violation. Pakistan has asked the World Bank to set up a Court of Arbitration to settle the issue but India has refused to recognize such a court.

The Indus Water Treaty is a far from perfect treaty which puts Pakistan in a vulnerable position. However, Pakistan must capitalize on what is actually being given to us by the Treaty and must stand tall and firm against India to ensure that the already lenient terms of the treaty are being fulfilled. Since its inception, India has never missed an opportunity to victimize Pakistan by creating deliberate water scarcity with the aim to damage the latter agriculturally.

Over the years, Pakistan has shown dedication to fulfilling the terms of treaty and it is usually India which has violated it to pressure Pakistan. An emerging water crisis in Pakistani should compel the Ministry of Water Resources to exert international pressure on India to move to arbitration.

The World Bank and international pressure should be the way to go and Pakistan needs to up its diplomacy game because of the urgency of the water crisis. Indus Water Delegations should have a pool of qualified lawyers, specialized in international laws to make cases stronger at talks.