Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline ground breaking today
Arrangements have been made for the ceremony that would mark the start of work on Pakistani portion of Iranian-Pakistani gas pipeline. This is over 780 kilometer long and ran into snags due to pressure from the United States and difficulties in mobilizing funds. This portion of pipeline is estimated to cost US$1.5 billion and Iran has promised to provide one-third or US$500 million. The portion of pipeline on the Iranian side has almost been completed.
Pakistani leadership is showing determination and made it clear that it would complete the venture. The country seems to be enjoying support from China and Russia on this issue as since last two years Pak-Russia relations have entered in new phase and China is Pakistan’s old dearest friend. Lately, President Zardari has said Pakistan is a sovereign country and has the right to pursue projects in national interest and does not intend to offend anyone.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will jointly inaugurate the pipeline construction work. The ceremony will be held in the Iranian coastal city of Chabahar. Both the presidents will also sign an accord for 400,000 barrel per day capacity oil refinery to be established at Gwadar. Some of heads of states and other dignitaries also expected to attend the ceremony.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan has said,”We are not in a fix, we are very clear about it that the pipeline is in our national interest being an energy deficient country,” Khan said, while hoping that the US would show “more understanding” on Pakistan’s decision to go ahead with the pipeline. “Yes, we know about their concerns but hope our friends, including the US, will understand our economic compulsions,” said Khan.
Brushing aside concerns and pressures of the United States, the spokesman said the whole world should realize that the project was being commissioned purely to meet economic needs of the country and was being executed by two sovereign states.
“The government is initialing this important project in view of the energy requirements. The project will bring economic prosperity, provide better opportunities to the people and help defeat militancy,” he said.