US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s latest warning of ‘consequences’ if Pakistan goes ahead with the Iran gas pipeline project, is not much surprising.
In her statement in Washington she said that the project was ‘inexplicable’ and that it could invoke US sanctions that would also further undermine Pakistan’s ‘already shaky economy’.
The secretary once again proposed the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, as an alternative.
The US proposed 1700km-long pipeline would originate from Turkmenistan and terminate in India after passing through a vast and rugged territory of Afghanistan which is plagued by war and terrorism. Parts of Pakistan’s tribal region have also been feeling the heat with skirmishes continuing unabated between terrorists and the security forces.
It is not yet clear as who will ensure ‘safety’ of the project which appears highly complicated and risky keeping in view the prevalent situation in the region.
Moreover, who is going to provide security to thousands of workers on the proposed project and when it would be completed; are some of the many relevant questions.
The Asian Bank president is also on record saying that it would not be an easy project to be completed with some good amount of certainty.
Would this not be mere wastage of time that Pakistan could hardly afford in the present circumstances where gas shortage continued to severely grip the whole country?
Common sense asks a pertinent question. When a next-door and reliable neighbour is willing to oblige, why should one call the distant people for help?
But things could be viewed in a different and factual perspective. The US wants to isolate Iran for its own reasons. But, that is not the whole truth. The real target is ‘unspecified’.
By opposing the Iran gas pipeline project, the so-called friend of Pakistan is, in fact, damaging and further undermining the ‘already shaky economy’ of this country.
If Iran was found violating international law or certain resolutions of the United Nations on the nuclear issue, the world body could have taken appropriate and justified action on its own.
FATIMA SIDDIQUI Islamabad