|Pakistan seeks UNSC’s waiver to escape gas pipeline sanctions||
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan may seek a waiver from the United Nations to proceed with the multi-billion dollar gas pipeline with Iran and avert possible sanctions by the UN Security Council, which if imposed, would make it impossible for Islamabad to continue with the vital project. The sanctions against Iran by the UN Security Council were imposed in June 2010, when the world body passed Resolution 1929.
However, to many this resolution is a bit vague and its interpretation as prohibiting the countries from financial transactions with Tehran needs clarity despite the assertion that it is binding on world nations.
In Pakistan too it is believed that Islamabad does not come in the line of UNSC sanctions, and only unilateral sanctions by the U.S. could impact it in case the project is materialized.
The U.S. has a law specific to Iran, which prohibits any commercial and financial transaction with Tehran. Pakistan can escape the threat of UN sanctions by moving the Security Council with a request for a waiver. “Islamabad could seek waiver by UNSC under Article 50 of the UN charter,” said a diplomatic source while requesting anonymity.
He said that under Article 50 of the UN charter, Pakistan could try to impress upon the UNSC that as the article says itself that in case of any special economic problems being caused to a certain country because of sanctions, it could come to the UN Security Council for a solution and that’s why Islamabad had opted for that path.
He said that Pakistani authorities could tell the world body that it was facing severe energy crisis of its history, which had even resulted in riots across the country and if not controlled, the crisis could lead to a catastrophic economic situation in the country. If Pakistan goes to the UNSC, one thing going in its favor is that the agreement on gas pipeline with Iran was signed before the passing of Resolution 1929.
A Pakistani official declined to comment on the proposal to seek waiver from the UNSC for proceeding with the gas pipeline with Iran. However, he said that he felt that UN sanctions could not impact Pakistan. He also mentioned that the agreement with Iran was signed in May 2009, much before the passage of the Iran-specific resolution by the UNSC.
The diplomatic source said that one serious problem that Islamabad was facing was that it had to lay the pipeline up to its borders by 2014, and in case it failed, it would have to pay millions of dollars to Iran as penalty and fine. Iran is said to have nearly completed its pipeline and by the 2014, its gas would be available for Pakistan at the border.
“Pakistan, on its part, has not even laid a single inch of over 700km-long pipeline, which means Tehran could demand the penalty. Pakistan has, however, sought extension in the deadline from Iran, which has responded in a positive manner,” the source said.
(Source: Pakistan Today)
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