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— File photo
— File photo

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi informed the National Assembly on Monday that the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project was now off the table.

“In the absence of international sanctions the project can be completed within three years, but the government cannot take it any further at the moment because international sanctions against Iran are a serious issue,” he said in reply to a supplementary question put by PML-N lawmaker Zahra Wadood.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had announced in February last year to complete the project in 15 months.

But analysts doubted the sincerity of the present government to follow up the venture because of close ties between the PML-N leadership and Saudi Arabia which is reported to be against the project.

Pakistan will have to pay a penalty if it failed to lay the $1.3 billion pipeline within its territory by December this year, but the petroleum minister told the house that the job could be done only after the lifting of sanctions against Iran.

Pakistan has been persuading Iran to review the timeline of the project.

Comments (16) Closed

ASLAN Feb 25, 2014 11:24am

What?? Why would they do it? This is just wrong, I mean, we are already energy deprived nation and then this happens. I do not know how long it will take Thar-Coal project to start working but is it really that viable? Anyway even if it is, to stop another project just for personal relations and to undermine country's progress, is just wrong on so many levels.

Abbas Feb 25, 2014 12:34pm

Saudi Arabia with PML (N) works friend ship to stop Pak Iran Gas project Off

Shah Feb 25, 2014 12:36pm

This is incompetent... sell out govt. Businessman cannot be a good leader its for sure now...

A2Z Feb 25, 2014 12:59pm

Shame on PML-N

M. Asghar Feb 25, 2014 01:13pm

This is the worst neighbourly and geopolitical situation for Pakistan and will cost it dearly in terms of much needed energy.

Nasir Khan Feb 25, 2014 01:24pm

The completion of Iran-Pak gas pip line is inevitable for Pakistan. We are energy scares country we need this project to be completed by Dec, 2014. Such other projects should be encouraged. If we delay this project on the basis of international sanctions on Iran, we should have a home work done before signing the agreement. Pakistan will loose its trust for other interested countries likely China to invest in Pakistan.

malik Feb 25, 2014 01:50pm

good decision. Time to find indigenous resources.

Zulfiqar Feb 25, 2014 02:45pm

The project would have benefited ordinary people of Pakistan, it would have driven the prices of all commodities down, Gas is used as a raw material for fertiliser, it is a nerve system for industry, we have 10% to 11% non accounted for Gas, this is simply oppression.

poleturtle Feb 25, 2014 03:19pm

How come India, China and a host of other nations have been allowed to circumvent the Sanctions against Iran. Looks like the sanctions are against Pakistan as this pipeline only benfits Pakistan !

It is a shame that Pakistan is so weak that it cannot even do what is best for itself.

asi Feb 25, 2014 03:50pm

Why our Minister sb don't tell the actual story behind the scene if the sole reason is international sanctions then why Turkey recently strike the same deal with Iran, The one and only reason is mounting Saudi Pressure.

SYEDA SARA BATOOL Feb 25, 2014 04:56pm

pml n is seriously not sincere with iran and this pipeline project.....pml n likes those country which they like to visit,,,,,

Dr. B.N. Anand Feb 25, 2014 05:02pm

That is the result of recklessly following a thoughtless policy. Whether somebody likes or not the reality is that sanctions were in place then and now. The Iranian leader at that time was rather overconfident of overcoming the international sanctions. At that time, the withdrawal of India was construed as due to the pressure of USA , but in fact it was a well thought decision. Now Pakistan should think the ways of getting the penalty waived. I doubt it very much, especially when it is caught between two Islamic countries who follow different sects of Muslim religion. And that is not easy to resolve.

Sheik Abdullah Feb 25, 2014 06:56pm

We are all muslims, we should help each other.

Zee Feb 26, 2014 09:17am

Well if the Sheikhs from KSA don't like the pipeline from Iran, perhaps they can at least help pay for an alternate and price competitive source and also the contract cancellation charges.

gilani Feb 27, 2014 07:53am

@A2Z: What else can be expected from PML-N? Wrong decisions and corruptions.

Sahar Feb 27, 2014 05:34pm

@gilani: PML N seems to be the party of relatives and friends where everyone is after making money through corruption.