LAHORE - Declaring himself a spokesperson for ‘Shuhada-e-Pakistan’, Senator Faisal Raza Abidi has vowed to block backward movement of NATO containers with the help of some 25,000 volunteers if the US did not pay for the losses in terms of men and material and held back its Opposition to the Iran Gas Pipeline project and the Gwadar Port.

“Apologise for the innocent killings of people in Tribal Areas and pay blood money, negotiate nuclear energy deal with Pakistan as signed with India, stay away from Gwadar and Iran pipeline projects, build road infrastructure destroyed by NATO trucks and allow Pakistan authorities to check containers before they pass through our territory”, he has put forward a five-point charter of demands to the US government for safe passage of the NATO containers.

In an interview to The Nation, Abidi said that he had quit politics and now was the sole spokesperson of ‘Voice of Shuhada-e-Pakistan” who were 71,000 in number. .He was pointing to the human loss suffered by Pakistan for supporting the war on terror.  The PPP Senator was of the view that US did not want Pakistan to reap the benefits of Gwadar port and to have access to cheaper gas from Iran.

Instead, it wanted Pakistan to get costly gas from Turkmenistan which will reach here after passing through Afghanistan and that too after four years, he added.

Afghanistan, he said, had never been stable politically; and given this inherent instability, the Turkmenistan pipeline  may be blocked any time by the warlords in that country.

Making a comparison of the two pipeline projects, Abidi said that pipeline from Iran was 1600 km long unlike TAPI which was 1800 km in length.  He said 850 km portion of Iran pipeline was already complete on the Iranian side while Pakistan would lay the infrastructure on 750 km at a cost of $ 1.5 billion only. Out of this amount, Pakistan will pay only $ 500 million and that too in kind not in cash, in the form of wheat and rice equivalent to the amount. China would bear $ 500 million expenses while this much amount would be given to Pakistan as a soft loan, he further told.

The TAPI, on the other hand, is 1800 km long whose estimated cost in 2008, according to him was $ 33 billion. He said American companies like Exomobil, Choran and City Group were interested in financing this project.

To a question, he said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had been created by the CIA to sabotage the projects of Gwadar and Gas Pipeline with Iran.

He said he would fight the case of Pakistan alongwith some 25,000 volunteers who were ready to block the NATO route till acceptance of the five demands.

Talking the financial gains Pakistan would have after the two projects become operational, the Senator from Karachi said that 4000 mw of electricity shortfall would end after the gas supply resumes from Iran.

In terms of import of petroleum products, he said, Pakistan would be saving $ 5 billion a year. He said Pakistan would receive $ 14 billion as octroi from the Gwadar Port. Senator Abidi stated that country’s foreign exchange reserves would swell to $ 94 billion when the two projects start generating revenue.