Islamabad is not under any foreign pressure to abandon the multi-billion-dollar pipeline project to carry natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, says a Pakistani minister.
Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said during an address to the Pakistani Senate on Tuesday that the project has been delayed due to U.S.-engineered sanctions against Iran, Pak Tribune news service reported on Wednesday.
Abbasi also stated that Iran has completed construction of 900 kilometers of the pipeline from its giant offshore South Pars gas field to the city of Iranshahr, situated in its southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan and on the border with Pakistan, and work on the remaining 250 kilometers pipeline is likely to start soon.
He said Pakistan has accomplished the first phase of the project.
The Iran-Pakistan pipeline (IP) aims to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.
The United States has long been threatening Islamabad with economic sanctions if it goes ahead with the plan.
Under the original agreement sealed between Iran and Pakistan, the first Iranian gas delivery to Pakistan was to start by December 31, 2014.
On February 26, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International and Trade Affairs Ali Majedi cautioned Islamabad over falling behind schedule in fulfilling its obligations with regard to the project, saying it would be imprudent for Pakistan to link the failure to abide by its commitments to the sanctions imposed on Iran.
Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed.
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