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Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:20AM
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has downplayed Washington’s threats of imposing sanctions on Islamabad over a joint gas pipeline project with Iran. Addressing a press conference on Thursday, the Pakistani minister expressed confidence that the United States would never impose sanctions on Pakistan because of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project. Khar pointed to the importance of Pakistan’s relations with Iran and added that the completion of the gas pipeline project would be a harbinger of good news for peace and cooperation. The remarks came after the US Department of State on March 11 threatened Pakistan with sanctions if Islamabad went through with its multi-billion-dollar project with Iran. On March 11, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the final construction phase of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, intended to carry natural gas from Iran to its eastern neighbor. The pipeline is designed 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. Pakistan faces a crushing energy crisis, which has caused difficulties in financing the pipeline, whose section on Pakistani soil stretches from the border between the two countries to Nawabshah region. Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its territory. SF/HSN/MA
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