ON March 11 the former presidents of Iran and Pakistan, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Asif Zardari, inaugurated the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project. It was expected that the project would help Pakistan to overcome the energy crisis, especially the shortage of natural gas.
Now after almost five months of its inauguration, the Iranian petroleum minister has said that Iran is considering abolishing the pipeline project owing to new demands from Pakistan.
According to media reports, Pakistan has asked Iran for $2 billion loan to build the pipeline in its own area. This news is not able to get attention of the electronic.
According to financial experts, this pipeline project was not feasible from day one. We all know Pakistan needs almost two billion dollars to complete the pipeline in its own area. It is impossible to get that much amount of loan from any financial institution when we are doing business with a nation which has been facing sanctions.
We should also remember the fact that recently China and India have also reduced their imports from Iran. In these circumstances how will we be able to execute such a project? We should also remember the fact that in case we are not able to start the gas pipeline, Pakistan will have to pay fine, which is also a very heavy amount. Now when all this has happened, it looks that it was an election stunt of the former ruling party, which may hurt the relations of two neighbouring countries.
It is pertinent to mention that the project was inaugurated just five days before March 16, which was the last working day of the then government.
HASSAM WAHEED,
Lahore, November 8.