The World Bank (WB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kristalina Georgieva called on Premier Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Thursday to discuss implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) and the dispute between Pakistan and India over the construction of two hydropower projects by New Delhi.
India is constructing two hydropower projects on the Chenab River. Pakistan has objected to the construction of the 850MegaWatt Ratle and 330MW Kishanganga hydropower schemes, saying that both projects would have adverse impact on the flow of the Chenab and Neelum rivers.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today expressed hope that the World Bank would take the lead in dispute resolution through the Court of Arbitration.
Both countries had initiated separate processes in the WB under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), with India requesting the body for appointment of a 'Neutral Expert', and Pakistan calling for the appointment of the chairman of the Court of Arbitration.
The WB had, in December, announced a pause in arbitration between Islamabad and New Delhi on the matter of the two dams being constructed by India, calling on both countries "to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements".
WB CEO Georgieva in a video statement shared by the Prime Minister's Office said she was "very impressed by the positive change that has happened" in Pakistan since her last visit to the country in 2011.
She was pleased with the visible improvement in Pakistan's infrastructure. "The benefits of development are directed to those who need it the most," she added.
The WB's investment ─ which can go up to $1.5bn a year ─ has contributed to the economic prosperity and development of the country, Georgieva said.
She lauded Pakistan's recent investment in the International Development Association as "recognition that Pakistan sees the World Bank as a good investment." "We look forward to a strong partnership with Pakistan," she said.
The premier stated that Pakistan values its partnership with the WB and appreciated the organisations' investment of US$ 31 billion in social, infrastructure, water and energy sectors. He also appreciated the disbursement of US$ 2.5bn since 2014 to date through a series of Development Policy Credits to Pakistan for carrying out structural reforms in growth and energy.
The prime minister reaffirmed the government’s commitment to taking these reforms forward.
PM Nawaz Sharif emphasised the government's focus on development of hydropower projects all along the Indus cascade and small and medium dams in Balochistan to meet energy demands. "The support of the World Bank in the energy sector projects including Tarbela-IV, Tarbela-V and Dasu hydropower projects is also valuable to Pakistan," the prime minister said during the meeting today.
"My government is focused on economic revival and requires huge investments in energy, infrastructure and social protection," the premier said.
"The results of the measures taken by the government are already visible. Structural reforms are on track and economic growth has picked up. In order to maintain the momentum, the government will need the enhanced support of the development partners in energy, infrastructure particularly rail and roads network, education & skill development," he added.
Nawaz Sharif expressed gratitude over the WB's support for rehabilitation of and reconstruction for Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) through the provision of $75 million. The return of TDPs has been fast-tracked, he said, adding that the government has been spending from its own budget to facilitate the rehabilitation of TDPs.