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Pakistan is taking its water gripe with India to 1965 level

The Pakistani Army and other establishments are rallying behind a controversial dam project on the Indus River in disputed territory that has taken on new wind after India frustrated attempts by Islamabad to get international funding for years. The issue is set to snowball into a controversy with India opposing the project as it falls in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).Potential water wars between the two nations are a reality, with tensions flaring up after the 2016 Uri attack that left 19 soldiers dead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been vocal on water-sharing pacts between the nations and had famously told a review meeting of the Indus Waters Treaty in 2016 after the Uri attack that “rakt aur paani ek saath nahin beh sakta” (blood and water cannot flow together).Pakistan Chief Justice Saqib Nisar who ordered the setting up of a public fund for the project, linked raising money for the dam to the 1965 war with India, personally initiating it with a (Pakistani) Rs 1 million donation. “The passion that was seen during the 1965 war would be visible again for the construction of dams,” he said. The 4500 MW Diamer-Bhasha Dam is planned in PoK’s Gilgit-Baltistan. 64969656 Pakistani Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwahas pledged a month’s salary to the fund that has reached Rs 50 million within days. Besides the Army and Supreme Court employees, several prominent personalities like former cricketer Shahid Afridi as well as private institutions have pledged funds for the dam. Officers of the Pakistani armed forces are donating two days’ pay while soldiers have been mandated to donate one day’s pay for the project that is being touted as the solution to its water scarcity problems.Several government controlled institutions have made similar pledges, while appeals are also being made to overseas Pakistanis to donate money for the dam. Others include acting President Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani and the Habib Bank. While the fund is still away from the estimated Rs 1.6 trillion needed for the dam, India is watching the matter closely, as it claims the Gilgit-Baltistan area and has been successfully lobbying for years against any form of international funding for the mammoth project.Pakistan has been trying unsuccessfully for years to raise funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank but facing frustration after the bodies stated that it was on disputed territory. A more recent attempt to bring it under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also did not go through after Beijing put up an ownership rights clause on the mega project.

Source: ET

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