ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has carved out a strategy to seek waiver from US sanctions through backdoor diplomacy as the country’s Law Division has hinted about the imposition of US sanctions if the government initiates work on the project, sources said on Thursday.

The sources also said that the fate of $1.5 billion worth Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is still in doldrums and not sure at hand following the submission of legal opinion by the country’s Law Division to the government, hinting the imposition of US sanctions on the country if the government further goes with the project.

They said that the higher authorities had informed Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif about the possible imposition of the sanctions quoting the legal opinion of the Law Division. And, the premier to seek waiver from US sanctions through backdoor diplomacy has assigned the task to concerned authorities while further work on the IP gasline project on Pakistan’s side would start after ensuring the US consent at top diplomatic level. This vital issue will also be taken up by the Prime Minister with US President Barak Obama on the sidelines of UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York in September, the sources added.

Since Washington has repeatedly voiced serious concerns at different forums about the pipeline project so Sartaj Aziz, Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs, on 1st August had handed over a non-paper to US Secretary of State, John Kerry, containing the perspective how the IP gas line is important for Pakistan-an energy deficient country, a source opined.

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline is with a diameter of 42 inches was planned to bring 750 million cubic feet gas per day (mmcfd) with an option to increase it to one billion cubic feet. Iranian gas planned to be supplied to Pakistan by December 2014 under an agreement between both states to be functional for 20 years and there would be a five-year extension. Tadbir Energy has already shown its agreement to construct pipeline inside Pakistan. Iran has committed $500 million for financing the pipeline construction of 781-km-long gasline to be laid on Pakistani side. Total cost of pipeline construction in Pakistan has been estimated at $1.5 billion.

Iran and Pakistan in March officially inaugurated the construction phase of the pipeline project on the Pakistani side.The project kicked off in a ceremony attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the two countries’ shared border region in Iran’s Southeastern city of Chabahar.

Above 1900-kilometer long pipeline is planned to supply gas for Pakistan, which is suffering a lack of energy sources. According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran’s Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh but the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.