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IP pipeline: best choice for Pakistan?

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Former minister of information and Pakistan People’s Party leader Qamar Zaman Kaira believes that the best choice for Pakistan to supply its needed energy is accomplishing the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline.

“If there had been another way to meet Pakistan’s energy requirements other than the peace pipeline, the Pakistan People’s Party would have surely chosen that. Hence, Iran’s gas is the best option to supply the needed energy of the Pakistani people,” Kaira said.

He said that the former Pakistani government signed a contract with Tehran to import its needed gas from Iran and the current government should work on the implementation of the project.

Yet, he said that Pakistan has not stopped the project and there is already some progress made in Pakistani portion of IP gas pipeline.

Iran wants to export its natural gas to Pakistan, India and China through the peace pipeline.

Iran has already built its 900 km share of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700 km Pakistani side of the pipeline to be built.

Iran and Pakistan signed an agreement over the construction of a gas pipeline in 1995.

Later, Iran made a proposal to extend the pipeline from Pakistan into India. In February 1999, an accord between Iran and India was signed. But due to the US pressure, India withdrew from the project in 2009, and Islamabad has also delayed accomplishing the project so far.

A Pakistani delegation presided by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi arrived in Tehran last Monday to discuss expediting the implementation of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.

The delegation was expected to present new proposals to the Iranian side on the IP gas pipeline.

It is believed that the Pakistan and Iran authorities have reached an understanding to look for a middle ground to implement the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project amid threats of possible sanctions by the US.

“I am hopeful that both parties can find a consolidated solution for the project despite threats of sanctions,” said Federal Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

According to sources, the Pakistani delegation, led by Abbasi, informed the Iranian side that the US sanction on Iran was the main hurdle in materialising the IP pipeline project.

Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner

Sources: Daily Times, The Express Tribune

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