LAHORE - The All Pakistan Business Forum has welcomed the nuclear deal between Iran and western countries, saying the deal has renewed hope for materialising Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which is bound to bring an industrial revolution in Pakistan.

APBF President, Ibrahim Qureshi appreciated the nuke pact, expressing the hope that Petroleum Ministry would now explore funding avenues for the project and proceed it expeditiously. “The business community has already been pressing the government hard for procuring the required energy resource from whatever source suits to it to relieve the country of the mounting shortages of gas and power.”

He said that the APBF is convinced that the Iranian source is the most feasible, financially, as well as from the point of view of proximity and succumbing to any pressure would further worsen the already crippling power crisis.

Ibrahim Qureshi asked the ministry to complete the project at the earliest through mutual cooperation instead of relying on foreign aid. At present, a number of industrial units had stopped their operations due to the lack of power, let alone any new ones to come on line, he said, adding that other sectors of the economy such as agriculture are not immune from its impact. The economy, already in the doldrums, threatens to come crashing down, he said. The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline would serve Pakistan’s national interests and would go a long way in mitigating the energy issues.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that now, after the peace deal, supply of gas to Pakistan from Iran can be possible within two years. He, however, warned the government to re-negotiate gas tariff with Tehran, because under the clause of the agreement, gas tariff can be re-negotiated one year before the gas supply resumes. So, government should make use of this clause for re-negotiating gas tariff, he suggested.

FPCCI President Mian Idrees said that launched in 2010, the project envisaged the creation of 1,800 kilometre pipeline from Iran to Pakistan, which had for years been blighted by an energy crisis, stunting economic growth.

He said that Iran completed its part of the project in 2013, but Pakistan put construction on hold citing the US and European sanctions on Tehran linked to its nuclear programme. The International Atomic Energy Agency is now set to verify that Iran has implemented its commitments in December, paving the way for sanctions to be lifted from the start of next year.

The sanctions are going to be removed, it will facilitate us in addressing our energy needs and also meet the contractual obligation of buying gas from Iran.