LAHORE - Talks between Pakistan and India over hydro-power projects being set up by the latter in Indian-occupied Kashmir are unlikely to reach an agreement, knowledgeable sources said, adding that Islamabad may have to approach the World Bank for the settlement of the dispute.

However, Pakistan Indus Water Commissioner, who is pursuing the matter, is ill-prepared for the purpose.

Lack of seriousness on Pakistan's side could be gauged from the fact that a bureaucrat is running the affairs of country’s Indus Water Commission as an additional duty for around six months. And, according to sources, there is serious lack of coordination among different departments dealing with country’s water issues.

The sources were of the view that the PTI-led coalition had to work on war footing to set things in order. Otherwise, they said, it would be very difficult for Pakistan to legally defeat India at the international level.

Pakistan and India held water talks in Lahore on August 29 and 30, but no official statement was issued after the meeting. It was first time since signing of 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT) that public was kept in complete dark about the much-hyped negotiations held only two days after Imran Khan took over as the prime minister.

The Nation approached some officials of the Indus Water Commission and Water Division which, speaking on condition of anonymity, said India completely refused to accept Pakistan’s objections on the two hydro-power projects in Held Kashmir.

Replying to a question as to how they see permission to Pakistani experts to visit the sites of the projects in areas under illegal occupation of India, the sources said: “Under Indus Waters Treaty, India is bound to allow inspection of any hydro-power project it has designed on western rivers (Jhelum, Chenab, Sindh). So, it was nothing new and extraordinary.”

The August talks were continuation of World Bank efforts to ‘save the treaty’ between two neighbours which New Delhi threatened to revoke after Pathankot and Uri attacks on September 18, and January 2, 2016. India alleged Pakistan was behind the attack, and Prime Minister Narendara Modi said in an angry tone that water and blood could not flow together.

Officials say that Pakistan, unfortunately, failed to pursue its water case against India at international level during last decade or so. And, it was mainly due to the capacity issue of Indus Water Commission, they remarked. Islamabad lost Baglihar Dam, a 900MW run of the river project on Chenab River in Held Kashmir, case in the Hague court in its 2013 judgement. The Indus Water Commission and water and law divisions are now struggling to secure its water rights on 330MW project on Kishanganga River (tributary of Jhelum) and 850MW Ratle Dam on Chenab. The matter is already referred to World Bank which so far has not acted on request of Pakistan to constitute an arbitration court to resolve the dispute. India is opposing and wants nomination of neutral expert to settle the issue.

In the recent talks, said officials, Pakistani commissioner raised concerns on construction of Pakul Dul (1000MW), Lower Kalnai (48MW) and Miyar Hydropower Project (120MW) in the occupied area. List of all hydel projects New Delhi has planned on different tributaries of western rivers in Kashmir was also sought from India. Sources said Indian delegation agreed to share the list but insisted all its ongoing and future projects were according to parameters mentioned in the treaty. So, officials said, the dispute keeping in view the mindset of India, was unlikely to be settled between the two countries and forwarded to World Bank by Pakistani side in near future.