ISLAMABAD: Economist and former finance minister Dr Hafiz Pasha believes that Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project is the most viable and feasible energy project for Pakistan and needs to be completed at the earliest.

In an Interview with IRNA, Dr Pasha said that the gas pipeline project should be the top priority in Iran-Pakistan relations.

“This project has to be revived at the earliest, because it is most viable and feasible project for Pakistan,” he noted.

Mr Pasha said that as compared to other energy projects including Turk­menistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), CASA-1000 and Qatar LNG, the IP gas pipeline is the most suitable project.

“Price of the IP is very attractive and it should be the first priority for Pakistan,” he stressed.

Expressing his views Mr Pasha said that Pakistan should also try to sign bilateral trade agreement with Iran with special focus on the exports of rice and textile products from Iran and import of oil products and other things from Iran. “So far we don’t have any such agreement with Iran,” he noted.

“We should take immediate steps to enhance our trade with Iran after removal of sanctions from the Islamic Republic,” he said, adding after the lifting sanctions, new opportunities are emerging in Iran and being first neighbour of Iran, Pakistan should take advantage of this situation.

The economist added that strong economic and trade ties are in the interest of both Iran and Pakistan.

He said that the current volume of trade between Iran and Pakistan is less than its potential and capacity of the neighbouring countries.

“But I again insist that the IP gas pipeline should be the top priority in Iran-Pak ties, we are importing LNG from Qatar which is quite far away and expensive,” he said.

The former minister went on to say that IP is more important for Pakistan because of its proximity and the price is very reasonable.

Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, once known as the ‘Peace Pipeline’, is about 1,900-kilometre long pipeline which will transfer natural gas from Iran to Pakistan when completed.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2016

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