Pakistan stresses independence over Iran gas pipeline

Pakistan has once again rebuffed US pressures to drop its gas pipeline project with Iran, saying it will act independently over its energy needs.

“Pakistan has to do what it deems fit and what is in its national interest. Lack of economic growth has also seen peace stalled in the region,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said in an interview with The News daily.

“Pakistan continues to suffer from huge energy deficiency and this directly affects our industry and GDP growth. Gas is the cheapest commodity to generate electricity,” she added.

“The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline will meet only half the shortfall of energy needs of Pakistan and not our full demand,” Rabbani Khar stated.

Upon returning to Pakistan after a visit to Iran, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said on Saturday that Islamabad will not stop the multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline despite US threats and pressure.

Zardari’s comments come a day after a Pakistani official confirmed that an Iranian-Pakistani consortium will start the construction of the IP gas pipeline as of March 11, 2013.

The pipeline will enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters (mcm) 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.

Washington has repeatedly voiced its discontent with the joint project, but Pakistan has dismissed rumors that it might pull out of the project amid pressures by the United States.

US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland warned Pakistan in February that, “We believe there are better, more secure and more efficient ways for Pakistan to get its power. We’ve made clear to countries around the world, including Pakistan, that we believe it’s in their interest to avoid activities that could be prohibited by UN sanctions or that could be ‘sanctionable’ under US law.”

By Press TV

 

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