ISLAMABAD - As Pakistan on Friday lifted the sanctions on neighbouring Iran pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution, the top officials of the PML-N government were reluctant to inform whether Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project would be implemented or not.

An official handout released by the Ministry of Finance stated that economic and commercial relationship between Pakistan and Iran will revive, including in the areas of trade, investment, technology, banking, finance and energy.

However, The Nation has tried to contact couple of federal ministers and senior officials of the concerned ministries to ask whether Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline could be started after lifting of sanctions, nobody was ready to make comment.

“I will suggest contacting Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is right person to speak on the subject,” replied Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who chaired the inter-ministerial meeting on finalising the modalities for lifting of sanctions on Iran yesterday.

The Nation has also tried to contact Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources several times, but he was not available to make any comment.

Pakistan has lifted the sanctions on Iran pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

The United States has already made it clear to Pakistan that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project would be judged. Jonathan Elkind, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs in the US Department of Energy during his visit to Pakistan in early February told the media that the government should purchase natural gas from the market at low price.

The official handout released by the Ministry of Finance stated that all previous notifications giving effect to UN Security Council sanctions on Iran stand repealed with the issuance of the new notification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in keeping with the Security Council resolution 2231.

Pakistan had welcomed the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action (JCPOA) agreed between Iran and European Union, People’s Republic of China, United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom and the Russian Federation.

It appreciates the steps taken by Iran for the implementation of the JCPOA.

With the lifting of restrictions, economic and trade relations between the two neighbourly countries will receive a new boost. It will enable the two countries to fully reinvigorate various bilateral and multilateral arrangements for promoting investments and cooperation in across all sectors including banking, finance, industry and energy.

On July 20, 2015, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2231 (2015) endorsing the JCPOA, which calls for promoting and facilitating the development of normal economic and trade contacts and cooperation with Iran, and having regard to States’ rights and obligations relating to international trade

The move came after UN nuclear watchdog ruled that Iran had abided by an agreement with six world powers to curtail its nuclear programme.

Iran had carried out all measures required under the (July deal) to enable Implementation Day (of the deal) to occur, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said.

IRANIAN ENVOY CALLS ON JANJUA

In a related development, Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost called on National Security Adviser Lt Gen (r) Naseer Khan Janjua at the Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad on Friday.

Though the official APP news agency released a picture of both engaged in a meeting but no news item was issued in this regard.

Talking to private TV channels, several observers were of the view that the lifting of sanctions against Iran by the United Nations, world powers and now by Pakistan has paved for Islamabad and Tehran to implement their gas pipeline project.

They said the Pakistan government was still reluctant to openly speak about the pipeline project but the situation would ease as Iran’s entry into world markets gradually grows.

According to them, Pakistan and Iran can now also sign new energy deals.

They said improved trade with Iran could also help bail out Pakistani textile sector which was paying price for recession in China and cotton collapse. They noted that Tehran's inclination to take part in economic corridor project would benefit both countries while Iranian companies would invest heavily in Pakistan.