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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Kashmir dam arbitrator named
Pakistani children swimming in the Indus river
Pakistan's major rivers originate in India
The World Bank has named a mediator to solve the row between India and Pakistan over a dam in Kashmir.

Swiss professor, Raymond Lafitte, has been chosen, with the agreement of the two countries, and his decision will be "final and binding", the bank said.

India says it wants to build the Baglihar Dam on the River Chenab to provide badly needed power to the sector of Kashmir it administers.

Pakistan fears the dam will give India control of a vital water supply.

1960 treaty

Professor Lafitte is a civil engineer and professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

A World Bank statement said: "Both India and Pakistan have found Professor Lafitte suitably qualified as a 'Neutral Expert'."

The World Bank is a signatory to the Indus Waters Treaty, which was signed in 1960 and includes the Chenab River.

The treaty divided the river systems between the two nations.

Pakistan depends heavily on water from rivers flowing from Indian-administered Kashmir and was ceded rights to the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers in the treaty.

Pakistan fears the dam would deprive Punjab province of vital irrigation.

"We are confident that the issue pertaining to Baglihar will be resolved according to the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty," said Pakistan foreign office spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani, welcoming Prof Lafitte's appointment.

No date was given for the professor to submit his findings.


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