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ISLAMABAD: The government has constituted a panel to resolve dispute between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) as 8kms boundary is the cause of serious conflict between two tribes of the two provinces, well-informed sources in Ministry of Water Resources told Business Recorder.

Sharing the details, sources said, 2nd meeting of the dispute resolution committee constituted by the Prime Minister was held under the chairmanship of Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives (PD&SI), Ahsan Iqbal.

Member (Infrastructure & Regional Connectivity), Planning Commission while apprising the background of the project and the issue briefed the forum that Diamer Bhasha Dam (Dam Part) was approved at a cost of Rs. 479.686 billion by Ecnec on November 14, 2018, whereas PC-1 of Acquisition of Land & Resettlement (AL&R) was originally approved at a cost of Rs. 60.051 billion by Ecnec on November 6, 2008, 1st revised PC-l of (AL&R) approved at a cost of Rs. 101.372 billion by Ecnec on March 02, 2015; and the 2nd revised PC-I of (AL&R) costing Rs. 175 billion was approved by Ecnec on April 30, 2020.

Moreover, to resolve the longstanding issue of boundary dispute between Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in project area, a committee was constituted by Prime Minister of Pakistan on October 20, 2017 with partial modification on December 31, 2019.

The first meeting of the committee was held on April 23, 2020. The then Minister for PD&SI, decided that DCPC may hold a preliminary session with the Chief Secretaries of KP and GB with a view to formulate workable options which could then be discussed by the committee.

First consultative meeting was held under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission on April 08, 2021 and the second consultative meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission on June 23, 2021.

Representative of Wapda, while giving background of tribal conflicts due to boundary dispute of 8 km between Bhasha and Basri Nullah, apprised the forum that there are two tribes one is in Thore, GB and the other one is in Harban, District Kohistan of KPK. Both tribes have remained embattled on this since pre-partition. Due to frequent conflicts, 4 people died and 7 were injured in 2014.

He further added that for the amicable solution of the dispute a one-man commission was established under Justice Tanveer Ahmed former Chief Justice of Supreme Court in 2014.

This commission held extensive hearings at Islamabad, meetings with District Administrations, notables and the tribes and also had site visits but so far report submitted by the commission in Prime Minister Office has not been made public.

In 2017 Chairman Wapda wrote a letter for resolution of the dispute, accordingly, and a committee was constituted by Prime Minister initially under the chairmanship of Minister Power where there was no political representative, then with subsequent modifications with Minister for PD& SI as Chairman of the committee and Chief Ministers of both provinces included as members of the committee.

Wapda and District Administrations have taken the lead and a Grand Peace Jirga was established in December, 2020. It had 12 notable members from each tribe including Ulema, political figures and chiefs of tribes. Agreement was signed by the members of Jirga in presence of representatives of District Authorities.

As per clauses of Agreement, Jirga will receive compensation payment of Rs. 400 million and will distribute it transparently among the victims of both tribes.

He added that after establishment of Grand Jirga, KKH was opened, work was restarted at RKKH and a Power of Attorney from Thore and Harban Tribes was signed.

Representative of Gilgit Baltistan stated that physical fight between the tribes is over, however to resolve the territorial dispute, he requested the forum to constitute a sub-committee with representatives from both the provincial governments to work out an amicable solution of the dispute and submit recommendations to the committee; the representative of KP while endorsing the proposal added that though One-Man Commission extensively reviewed the matter and submitted the report but “we can sit together for solution of the dispute.”

Secretary MoWR, stated that besides resolution of boundary dispute, committee constituted by the PMO shall also work out an equitable distribution of Net Hydel Profits and Water Use Charges in respect of DBDP through mutual consultation. The forum agreed to proceed further on these matters once the dispute is resolved.

The minister endorsed the proposal of sub-committee with Secretary Law, SMBRs, Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of both the provinces as member of sub-committee. He further directed to prepare ToRs of the sub-committee and emphasized that sub-committee will submit report within two months’ time. He also desired to co-opt representative of survey of Pakistan as member of dispute resolution committee.

After detailed discussion, sub-committee will now be constituted under the co-chairmanship of Chief Secretaries, Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to work out an amicable solution of the dispute which may be acceptable to both the provinces with Secretary Law, SMBRs, Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of both the provinces as member of sub-committee. Sub-committee will be notified with specific ToRs.

The sub-committee will submit report within two months’ time. Next meeting of the committee will be held after two months to discuss the recommendations of the sub-committee and to deliberate on other ToRs of the committee. Representative of Survey of Pakistan may be co-opted as member of dispute resolution committee.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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