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Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline delay may lead to $18bn fine for Islamabad

Nasir Kazmi
Press TV, Islamabad

In order to avoid paying billions of dollars in fines, it appears that the Pakistani government is attempting to find a solution for the completion of an Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. 

This comes after Pakistani lawmakers demanded progress on the publicly-funded project, warning Pakistan could faces penalty if the pipeline project with Iran is not completed before the year-end.

The petroleum ministry officials warn that Pakistan will have to pay 18 billion dollars in fine if it terminates Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline agreement. The officials told lawmakers that Islamabad has spoken to the United States to request a waiver, as there is a ban on importing gas from Iran.

The parliamentarians asked the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon the American envoy and demand he either grant Islamabad permission to move forward with the project or provide funding to cover the fine.

Washington has been pushing Islamabad to give up the plan to import gas from neighboring Iran. However, the government has so far publicly resisted the pressure, arguing that the project is vital to fulfill the country’s energy needs.

Like the rest of the world, Pakistan is no exception to the global energy crisis, which is worsening with each passing day. Experts believe that the pending gas pipeline project with Iran could be an immediate remedy for meeting the energy needs in Pakistan if the country manages to get out of the US influence.

Iran has already finished a portion of the pipeline in its own territory from the gas field to the Pakistan border, where it should connect to the Pakistani part.

The call on the Pakistani government to step up efforts to complete the IP gas pipeline project comes as Islamabad is already grappling with several crises here at home. Avoiding this 18 million-dollar penalty could save the country from falling into another crisis.

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