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In this March 11, 2013 photo, Iranian welders work on the pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, in Chabahar, near the Pakistani border, southeastern Iran. —AP/File Photo
In this March 11, 2013 photo, Iranian welders work on the pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, in Chabahar, near the Pakistani border, southeastern Iran. —AP/File Photo

DUBAI/KARACHI: Iran will probably give up on a multi-billion-dollar pipeline project to supply gas to Pakistan, Iran’s oil minister was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency on Wednesday.

“The contract for supplying gas to Pakistan is likely to be annulled,” Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters on the sidelines of a gas forum in Tehran on Wednesday.

Zanganeh did not state any further details in this regard.

Iran has almost completed the pipeline to the Pakistan border, but Pakistan has made little progress on laying its leg of the long-planned pipeline, largely due to a lack of funds for the costly project and US pressure to drop it.

Earlier this week, Pakistani Foreign Ministry Spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry reiterated Islamabad’s resolve to pursue the project.

“It (IP) should be seen in the context of acute energy crisis that we have in our country,” said the Pakistani official, adding that his government is pursuing the case to accelerate the implementation process of the project.

However, a report released last week by the Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) says the contract with Iran would bring an economic disaster in Pakistan as the gas sold will likely be several times more expensive than the domestic gas currently used.

Early in October, Pakistani Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked Iran to finance $2 billion in the construction of Pakistan’s side of the IP gas pipeline project. The Pakistani petroleum minister said preparatory work was complete, but they had asked Iran to provide $2 billion for the construction work.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar asked his Iranian counterpart Ali Tayyebnia at a meeting in Washington this month to “look into the possibility of constructing the Iran-Pakistan pipeline on Pakistani side as well” because international sanctions were preventing Pakistan from raising finances on its own, according to a statement issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the Wall Street Journal that he would proceed with the pipeline plan despite the US objections.

Comments (23) Closed

Caz Oct 30, 2013 07:52pm

Pakistan's can only survive as a vassal state of the USA and its ignorant beduin puppets.. Pakistan is politically , economically and morally bankrupt and has no basis to exist

Hasan,SZ Oct 30, 2013 08:41pm

Zardari is the culprit in defaming Pakistan. Knowing fully well that he had emptied the treasury and the Americans had threatened to impose sanctions yet he during his last months rule went to inaugurate a non starter project only to embarrass the incoming new government. he merits to be hanged for this deed.

Shahpur Oct 30, 2013 08:53pm

A wise decision by Iran.

Ahmer Oct 30, 2013 10:01pm

This shows Iran was never sincere in supplying gas to Pakistan. It was just a charade on its part.

Mustafa Oct 30, 2013 10:28pm

it well shows the super management of iran and pak in completing such important projects

Faisal Khan Oct 30, 2013 10:33pm

State owned gas utilities have sought 14 to 124 per cent hike in the gas tariff from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) which if approved would be effective in the country with the start of New Year till June 2014.

On one hand Ogra is planning to increase Gas Tariff and on the other hand Government can't handle already approved project.

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Oct 30, 2013 10:56pm

Let the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's decision prevail and the gas pipeline project, with Iran, be completed within shortest time possible.

unbelievable Oct 30, 2013 11:27pm

Iran's announcement is akin to shooting a dead horse. Necessary in this case because few in Pakistan know that a horse that isn't breathing is dead.

bangash Oct 31, 2013 12:14am

lol....and this is a pipeline that was inaugurated by PM Yousaf Raza Gillani.

ali Oct 31, 2013 12:47am

On what basis did the Zardari government signed this project with no money in their pocket and knowing very well that the sanctions were imposed and they would have no financing available from lending institutions.Iran has spent a lot of money by constructing pipeline on their side, they are being good by dropping this project on their own they could have imposed heavy penalties as per the agreement.

mikoyan Oct 31, 2013 03:18am

Does pakistan really have money to buy anything. The first job any PM or general does is to go around begging the world capitals for money. The pipeline was always a pipe dream without India.

Parivel Oct 31, 2013 09:22am

Sad news really!! Peoples of Pakistan may have to struggle for gas. It is for Peoples of Pakistan to pressurize their govt to reduce the Military expenses & look for supporting the daily life of the peoples.

Even, Stop procurement of weapons for next two to three years will make the life of Pakistan common peoples "comfortable & Affordable"

By investing huge money on Military expenses only West is gaining. This advise is suitable to Indian too.

Muhammad Adnan Oct 31, 2013 09:45am

Respected all, Pakistan is under developing country and have need to help him also as it is passing by crises so here all countries except Israel should help him and gave facilitation, when Iran is giving Gas pipeline to Pakistan, then why US is pressuring to end that project, while it has been completed more than enough: here on one side US authorities says we wanna help Pakistan, we want peace in Pakistan, but when any task comes where there is long term benefits, then US did not help, not help even forbade others to help. You can see drama of drown attacks, here innocent kids and old people are also being killed, what they had done wrong, what is their fault, only this that they are from Pakistan (Atomic Power). ooh US is so brave, wanna rule here its from impossible things as Russia had applied his power in Afghanistan and you all know what was result. Any how Allah is with Muslims and no one can defeat us, m proud to be a Muslim and Pakistani...... But US is not our friend it is pretending to be our friend..

Mirza Oct 31, 2013 11:16am

This is rather unfortunate to say the least. Oh, and of course, our government will give an opaque reason as to why the project can't go ahead. We , as Pakistanis, need representative government in our nation. I hope for change .. we need a new system of governance.

nini Oct 31, 2013 02:32pm

what a Shame , we don't have 2 billion dollars to built a gas pipeline that we desperately require. Pakistan is moving backwards rather then forwards. I would suggest bring in the Taliban to run pakistan!

ibaad Oct 31, 2013 08:22pm

This government is great at media "management". Successfully makes popular headlines and does exactly the opposite, case in point: "Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the Wall Street Journal that he would proceed with the pipeline plan despite the US objections." And acts on this stated resolve by simply letting the project die. Their duplicity on drones is similar as well. PM Nawaz Sharif successfully made anti-drone headlines on his tour to the US, and follows it immediately by releasing revised figures for civilian victims in the strikes, basically claiming that only a handful of civilians have died in those attacks. This act in fact endorses drone strikes by claiming that they are surgical and precise.

Tanvir Oct 31, 2013 08:57pm

Pakistan needs to earnestly resolve its long-term policies & goals based on historic facts and national interests. Any nation who depends on AID will remain a beggar. A nation who relies on mutual trades, especially will with its brotherly neighbors, will earn mutual respect and develop strengthen the common bonds. Only good neighbors will help a nation during its national crises and foreign attacks. Pakistan must realize that all US & Western AID is meant to get a leverage on its policies, and not to help the common people of the land.

Nitin Nov 01, 2013 12:29am

@nini: Bring India to run Pakistan

Anoop Nov 01, 2013 12:44am

Well, duh!

When India and China are lowering their imports from Iran, Pakistan is planning big things.

The thing is when the world's biggest economy, endorsed by the 2nd biggest economic bloc - EU - sanction someone, it means the world has sanctioned them.

That is why 2014 is going to be tricky for Pakistan. Pakistan will be threatened with sanctions if it doesn't stop support to Terror in neighbouring countries.

Shankar Nov 01, 2013 03:30pm

Pakistan should ensure that the pipeline project is completed. I am sure world bank will fund this project. It is in the interest of Pakistan and that is all that should matter!

Qamar Nov 02, 2013 04:39pm

India has betrayed Pakistan in this project. Pakistan was expecting royalty from india but at the last moment india opt out from this project. Now Pakistanis cannot afford this expensive project and this project is Finished... :(

Mirza Nov 02, 2013 07:02pm

@Qamar: We dont need India. They have nothing to do with our ECO regional cooperation.

Mirza Nov 02, 2013 07:11pm

@Anoop: Well duh! Go back to Indias board. Pakistan does not "support" terrorism.