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28 December 2011 - 12:03

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) has described natural gas imports from Iran as a key factor for in Pakistan's economic development, urging Islamabad to pave the way for the import of Iranian gas.

Pakistan cannot secure its future without Iranian gas,” said PEW president Murtaza Mughal.

PEW chief also emphasized that any delay in implementation of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline will “damage Pakistan's economy.”

The multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal, signed in June 2010, is aimed at exporting a daily volume of 21.5 million cubic meters (or 8.7 billion cubic meters per year) of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.

Mughal said that Iran has constructed its portion of the gas pipeline and now Islamabad should immediately begin construction efforts for the remaining portion of the pipeline project.

“Decades have already been wasted in discussions and modifications, further wastage of time will jack up costs and leave the industry uncompetitive in the international market,” he warned.

Referring to opposition of the US to the giant project, Mughal said that Washington “will continue to oppose gas pipeline and do nothing to resolve chronic shortages except offering economically unviable alternatives.”

He said that Iran is second major oil supplier to India despite sanctions on Tehran, adding that the Islamic Republic could be Pakistan's major source of gas.

Mughal also urged New Delhi to join the project since Iran has the “nearest gas reserves for long.”

The project was originally known as the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project. Iran, India and Pakistan held tripartite negotiations over the project, which was also known as 'The Peace Pipeline.'

New Delhi eventually quit the trilateral talks over disagreements with Islamabad on issues such as the fee Pakistan would charge for the transit of Iranian gas to neighboring India.
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News ID 181319