Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says Islamabad will go ahead with the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, in defiance of US unilateral sanctions against the Iranian energy sector.

Zardari made the remarks while addressing the inaugural session of the two-day fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-V) in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. The event was attended by delegations from 70 countries and international organizations.

The Pakistani president emphasized that Islamabad is committed to the implementation of such regional projects as Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) and the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline projects.

He added that in view of the importance of such projects for the overall development of the region, they needed regional and international support.

“We have tremendous scope for cooperation in several areas including energy, transport, industry, mining, livestock, education, agriculture and environment,” Zardari said.

The Pakistani president had vowed on February 7 to complete the Iran gas pipeline project “at any cost.”

In a meeting with the visiting Iranian Vice President for International Affairs Ali Saeedlou in Islamabad, Zardari added that Pakistan is committed to the implementation of the gas pipeline at the earliest time as the plan is crucial for the country’s energy needs.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also said on March 1 that Islamabad would continue the joint gas pipeline project with Iran irrespective of foreign pressure or unilateral sanctions imposed on the Iranian energy sector.

Energy-hungry Pakistan is looking to increase its fuel imports from various sources, including Iran, to reduce power shortages that have crippled the country’s industries and shaved percentage points off its GDP growth.

In addition to importing oil from Iran, Islamabad has been in talks with Tehran over the construction of a gas pipeline which is to transfer Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.

The multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline aims to export a daily amount of 21.5 million cubic meters (or 7.8 billion cubic meters per year) of the Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.

The maximum daily gas transfer capacity of the 56-inch pipeline which runs over 900 km of Iran's soil from Asalouyeh in Bushehr Province to the city of Iranshahr in Sistan and Baluchestan Province has been given at 110 million cubic meters.
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News ID 181639