Pakistani PM Vows to Accomplish IP Gas Pipeline Project
(FNA)- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a meeting with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei promised to make his best efforts to accomplish the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline.
"I will make my utmost effort to take the two countries' economic exchanges back to the previous 3-billion-dollar volume and even to a higher level, and revive the gas pipeline project," Sharif said during the meeting in Tehran on Monday.
Under an agreement between Tehran and Islamabad, Pakistan was to receive 750 million cubic feet of gas per day (mcfd) from January 1, 2015. Later, the gas supply from Iran was to be increased to 1 billion cubic feet gas per day (bcfd). Now the import of gas under the IP project seems a non-starter. If Pakistan fails to meet its obligation, then after the deadline, it will have to pay to Iran the huge penalty of almost $200 million a month. Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 781-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed. The IP pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages but certain countries, specially the US, pressure Islamabad to abandon the project.
Elsewhere in the meeting, Sharif described the recent insecurities at the two countries' common borders as regrettable, and said there are some parties who plot to create rift between Iran and Pakistan.
Addressing Ayatollah Khamenei, he said, "I assure you that the Pakistani government spares no efforts to confront the elements of insecurity at the common borders and will also support the Islamic Republic of Iran's measures (in this regard)."
His remarks came after some recent security incidents in the bordering areas of Iran and Pakistan by a Saudi-backed militant group, known as Jeish Al-Adl.
Jeish Al-Adl has been responsible for a number of recent terrorist operations in Southeastern Iran. The group always escapes to Pakistan after conducting operations in Iran. In the most recent case, it abducted five Iranian border guards in Jakigour region of Iran’s Sistan and Balouchestan province on February 6. The five were taken to Pakistan by the al-Qaeda-affiliated group. Four of them were released in April but the fifth one has been kept hostage and there is no news about his fate.
In October 2013, Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister Ali Abdollahi laid emphasis on the implementation of the security agreement signed by Tehran and Islamabad, and urged Pakistan to implement it.
He called for more serious measures by the Pakistani side to control its borders to curb terrorist activities.