|Pakistan, Iran pipeline approval encouraging||
ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) said recent steps taken by the government including ratification of Iran pipeline agreement by the Federal Cabinet are highly promising.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal lauded the patience of Tehran as the project was delayed for long due to uncalled for U.S. pressure on Islamabad to dump the venture essential for our survival.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that U.S. should stop opposing Iran gas pipeline project otherwise anti-U.S. feeling will run high among masses braving energy crisis.
The IP gas pipeline, projected to cost about USD 1.2 to 1.5 billion, will enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis.
Iran has already built more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.
Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Javad Owji said on January 29, 2013 that Tehran would finance and help build the 700-kilometer tranche of the gas pipeline on the Pakistani side.
“Aside from a 250-million-dollar loan, Iran will also provide the supplies and equipment necessary for the construction of the part of the pipeline on Pakistani soil,” Owji added.
He said Iran would also help Pakistan by providing financial aid while the Iranian private sector begins work to construct this pipeline.
“With the agreement of Tehran and Islamabad, within the next few days, operations for the construction of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline will begin on this neighboring country’s soil,” the Iranian official pointed out.
Top Pakistan’s agenda
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari says the completion of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project tops Islamabad’s agenda.
“Completing the construction of the [Iran-Pakistan] gas pipeline on Pakistani soil and the implementation of this major project is among the work priorities of the country,” he added.
U.S. shows concerns over Pak-Iran gas pipeline project
Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador, Richard G Olson, said the U.S. had concerns over this project, adding that U.S. had been extending financial assistance to Pakistan for many energy projects, including the Bhasha Dam.
No takers for global pressure
Rejecting international pressure, the Pakistani federal cabinet on Wednesday gave a go ahead to awarding the contract for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to an Iranian company with the project completion deadline set for 2015.
Briefing reporters on the cabinet meeting later Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the cabinet set up a four-member committee under the finance minister to monitor work on the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project.
The construction on Pakistani side of the pipeline would be undertaken soon at a cost of $1.5 five billion, adding that work was continuing on the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project as well.
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