The US Administration has expressed its displeasure over the assembly of three heads of states of the region, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, in Islamabad for a trilateral summit by conducting two drones attacks in North Waziristan killing over two dozen people. The three leaders, being immediate neighbours, had exchanged views over the prevailing situation and focussed their attention on finding ways and means to ensure lasting peace for their people. While with Afghanistan, the highest level of interaction is frequent, Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s visit has since attained great significance. In his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, he expressed his desire that Tehran was keen to boost its bilateral trade to the tune of US $ 10 billion. They also discussed Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project and explored possibilities of early completion of the construction work so that gas could be commissioned according to schedule. It may be pointed out that Adviser on Oil & Gas, Dr Asim Hussain had, in an interview to The Nation in December last year, stated that brisk work on the project is likely to begin ahead of schedule. Full credit must be given to President Asif Ali Zardari who declared in his Gharhi Khuda Buksh speech on the occasion of Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary that Pakistan would not accept any international pressure on his country’s effort to import gas from any source of its choice. He then directed Dr Asim to visit Iran to speed up work on the pipeline project, since the Iranian part of the work has been completed. Washington had all along been against this project and forced India to opt out of it. Not only this, the US put tremendous pressure on Pakistan to opt for TAPI gas pipeline project.

On the other hand, Iran has already signed an agreement with Balochistan for supplying 100 megawatts of electricity and is willing to raise it to 1000 megawatts if Pakistan so desired. The most significant aspect of this agreement is that Tehran would be supplying gas as well as electricity on the cheapest rates. Given the love and hate relationship with the United States, Pakistan must pursue an independent policy that serves its national interest. There is hardly any doubt that once the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project is commissioned, and supply of electricity begins, Pakistan would be able to get rid of the menace of loadshedding and resume its economic activity. It is expected that top level exchanges between Pakistan and Iran would continue to boost bilateral ties for the benefit of people of the two countries.