Apart from the relative merits of the projects, one of the biggest services the present government can perform for the USA is to give the impression that the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is in any way a substitute for the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline. Pakistan needs both the projects if it is to meet the gas shortages that have already hit the country in the past, and which will further worsen, reaching new heights this winter. Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain disclosed at a press conference on Sunday that the price was to be renegotiated with Iran, which is merely an excuse for abandoning the project. Pakistan has already shown a lack of commitment to the project due to US pressure by its failure to match Irans work on the gas pipeline, which Iran has brought to the Pakistan border. Pakistan needs the gas not only to meet demand from domestic consumers, but also to generate electricity needed for economic growth. The price renegotiation issue is being raised because there is a different price on offer for the TAPI gas, even though neither should be a reference price for the other. The TAPI deal has reached the point of the signing of the initial sell and purchase agreement, which took place on Monday. There is also a review of the IPI gas pipeline, where the survey and design work has been completed, even though this should have been executed much earlier. India seems to need Iranian gas, but has caved into US pressure not to take part in the project, with its nuclear accord with the USA serving as a substitute. Even though Pakistan has not received such a sweetener, though it suffers major energy shortages, it seems to have succumbed to US pressure and sacrificed its national interest in pursuit of the American desire to bypass Iran. The government should not have fallen into a trap which, apart from causing great inconvenience to domestic consumers, is also trying to hold back Pakistans industrial growth by preventing the development of the power sector. It must not forget that this is the same mistake, which tried to portray the Bhasha Dam as a substitute for the Kalabagh Dam, thus concealing that fact that both projects were necessary, not only for the power they would generate, but also the irrigation water they would store. As a result, the nation has been the poorer, only to favour vested interests, both commercial and political. The same must not happen with the TAPI and IPI gas pipelines.