Indus Treaty Has 'Held Good For More Than Half-Century,' Says Supreme Court

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Indus Treaty Has 'Held Good For More Than Half-Century,' Says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court's judgment came after the meeting of the Indus Water Commission in Lahore.

New Delhi:  The historic Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan has "held good for more than half a Century," the Supreme Court today said while dismissing a petition to declare it illegal and unconstitutional.

"This treaty is of 1960 and this treaty has held good for more than half a century," a bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said while dismissing the PIL filed by lawyer ML Sharma, who had argued that the treaty was not a valid document since it was not signed in the name of the President. Last year, the top court had refused to grant an urgent hearing on the petition, saying there was no urgency in the matter. Mr Sharma was asked to "keep politics aside".

The Supreme Court's judgment came after the meeting of the Indus Water Commission in Lahore. Officials of India and Pakistan had met to restart the talks that New Delhi had put on the hold following the terrorist attack on Jammu and Kashmir's Uri army base in September 2016, in which 19 soldiers were killed.

Declaring that "Blood and water cannot flow together," Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked officials to explore options to put pressure on Pakistan within the framework of the treaty.

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The agreement on sharing the water of the Indus and its five tributaries, brokered by the World Bank, was signed on September 19, 1960. Besides then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the pact was signed by then Pakistan President Mohammad Ayub Khan and WAB Iliff for the World Bank.

The agreement gives India rights to use the eastern rivers -- Ravi, Sutlej and Beas. Pakistan has control over the waters of the three western rivers, Chenab, Jhelum and Indus.
 

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