Indus Water Treaty: Political and Legal Dimensions Author: Ijaz Hussain Publishers: Oxford University Press, 2017 Karachi Price: Pak Rs 2,595 Pgs: 563 This book is an academic study of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) signed in 1960 under the auspices of the World Bank. Ayub Khan was the president of Pakistan at that time and he is still blamed for having agreed to the treaty which allocated the three eastern rivers (Ravi, Sutlej and Beas) to India, leaving Pakistan with the western ones (Jhelum, Chenab and Indus). So among the questions which prompted this study are: was the treaty justified and, If it was, has it solved the water problems or not. The second question concerns itself with the disputes of the two countries regarding the Wullar Barrage and Salal, Baglihar, Kishenganaga and other dams. The point is to understand whether India has built dams or other projects which can stop or restrict the flow of water into Pakistan, because if it has or can do so the treaty has failed to achieve what it set out to do. Before we take up what the author has to say about all these issues, let us keep in mind that the treaty has survived wars, conflicts, and insurgencies not to mention the vitriolic polemics of the media of both countries during periods of tremendous tension and actual hostilities. Dr Ijaz Hussain, the author, is well qualified as a lawyer and an academic to write a book on a subject as complicated as the IWT. He begins the study by referring to the historical allocation of the headworks of Madhopur and Ferozpur to India by Sir Cyril Radcliffe’s Punjab Boundary Commission in 1947. India was the upper riparian and there was a standstill agreement between the two countries which expired on March 31, 1948. So, on April 1, 1948, India stopped the flow of water in 11 canals, thus, putting in jeopardy the cultivation of crops in parts of Pakistan. Pakistan entered into negotiations with India which agreed to let the water flow provided Pakistan surrendered the three eastern rivers to it. This, then, was the situation which led Pakistan to agree to arbitration by the World Bank. The treaty giving the three eastern rivers to India and the three western ones to Pakistan was signed on September 19, 1960. India could use the flowing rivers to generate run-of-the-river electricity but could not stop the flow of the rivers into Pakistan. Ijaz Hussain points out that — though Ayub is maligned for it — it was Sir Feroz Khan Noon’s government which had agreed to give the eastern rivers to India. Ayub inherited this commitment. Indeed, the author goes ahead to exonerate Ayub of the blame, and observes that ‘it was a master stroke on his (Ayub’s) part to make the Bank arrange huge funds, which were almost entirely gratis, for the development of alternative sources’. Indeed, concludes the author, ‘the treaty is a crowning achievement of his rule because it adequately protected Pakistan’s water rights in the Indus Basin’ (p. 162). The treaty functioned effectively during the 1965 and the 1971 wars. However, the first significant water-related dispute between the two countries occurred in April 1970, when India notified Pakistan about the construction of a 690 MW hydroelectric power plant called the Salal Dam on the Chenab River in Udhampur (Jammu). Pakistan’s apprehension was that the dam could potentially store so much water that it would harm Pakistan since the flow would decrease. Finally, the dam was constructed in two stages — the first in 1987 and the second in 1995 — with an installed capacity of 345 MW each. Pakistan inserted a clause to the effect that the sluices would be closed only in an emergency and then immediately opened. The next dispute was about the Wullar Barrage — though, India did not call it a barrage, claiming that it is a navigational project not an irrigational one. In 1991, the two countries reached an understanding on the matter. India agreed to keep 6.2 metres of the barrage un-gated. Even so, Pakistan’s fears were not allayed. The latest report cited by the author is of 2013, according to which ‘India is ready to make adjustments in the design of the barrage which may facilitate an agreement’ (p. 229). The third dispute was about the Baglihar Dam which is a 450 MW power plant in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. The project was conceived in 1992, and construction began in 1999. Pakistan objected to it since it would deprive it of 7,000-cusecs of water per day and even stop water during the winter months (when wheat is grown). A neutral expert, Professor Raymond Lafitte, was appointed but Pakistan lost the case. According to Dr Ijaz, the Pakistani delegation mishandled the case and the expert, being an engineer, did not understand that Pakistan’s apprehensions had their basis in history and fear. Anyhow the judgement went against Pakistan and India filled up the dam reservoir causing loss of water to Pakistan since it was done after the Monsoon season was over (between August 19 to September 5, 2008). The US ambassador confirmed that Pakistan faced a 34 per cent shortage of water in that year and the crops were adversely affected. The matter was resolved in June 2010 when both countries agreed to place a consultation ‘procedure’ before such events (e.g. filling up reservoirs).