Islamabad will continue with a joint project with Tehran on the construction of a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan despite foreign political pressures, says a Pakistani official. Asim Hussain, an advisor to Pakistani prime minister on petroleum and natural resources, said on Sunday that the joint project will continue regardless of foreign pressures. He added that Pakistan would start construction of the section of the pipeline in its territory with Iran’s technical support. The Pakistani official also stated that the project would help the country overcome energy shortage in various states and improve its industry.
The remarks came a few days after Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Islamabad has a resolve to push ahead with the gas pipeline project.Khar said on December 20 that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was scheduled to visit Iran in a near future to discuss the finalization of the project. The Pakistani foreign minister also underscored Pakistan’s daily-growing demand for Iran’s gas and said the project would continue “under any condition.” The pipeline, projected to cost about USD 1.2-1.5 billion, would enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters of Iran’s natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis. Iran has already built more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil. Earlier this month, Pakistan dismissed reports that it might pull out of the project amid renewed efforts by the United States to convince the country to abandon the project. Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ahmed Khan said on December 14, “It is a project, which is in our national interest and we are determined to pursue it.” SF/HSN