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Pakistan committed to gas pipeline project with Iran: Zardari

February 07, 2012

President Asif Ali Zardari meets Iranian Vice President Ali Seedlou at the Presidency on Tuesday. – Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said Pakistan was committed to early implementation of Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project in order to meet the ever growing demand of the country for energy and power.

He said the government was also pursuing a trade liberalisation policy across the border and proposed for elimination of tariff and non tariff barriers between Pakistan and Iran to further boost trade ties and realise the true business and trade potential.

The President said the recent agreement between the two countries to work towards expanding Pakistan-Iran Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) to include additional items from both sides and making it an agenda item for the next meeting of the trade committee was a welcome move to enhance trade links between the two countries.

This was stated by the president during his meeting with the visiting Iranian Vice President Ali Seedlou here at the Presidency.

He said that enhancing bilateral cooperation particularly in energy, security, communication and infrastructure would help the two countries to overcome the challenges in the way of realisation of full existing potential of their equation and to realise the goal of raising the bilateral trade to $ 5 billion which he said was doable.

Those who were present during the meeting included Federal Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Advisor to PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Interior Senator Rehman Malik, Senator Babar Awan, Secretary General to president M. Salman Faruqui, federal secretaries Foreign Affairs, Petroleum and Economic Affairs division and other senior officials.

Iranian vice President was accompanied by senior Foreign Office officials. The Iranian ambassador in Pakistan Alireza Haghighian was also present.

The President said that both the countries were poised to play important role in the promotion of intra-regional and inter-regional connectivity which was the key to the socio-economic development of the people of the region.

He said resource constraints can be overcome by joining hands and enhancing cooperation in all the areas particularly trade, energy, horticulture, livestock, communication, infrastructure development and engineering sector.

About cooperation in banking Sector, the president said the establishment of Joint Working Group and the proposed visit of a delegation of Iranian bankers to meet Pakistani counterparts would give impetus to the cooperation in the banking sector besides facilitating bilateral trade.

The president said facilitating export of meat and Kinno from Pakistan would help the two countries enhance mutual trade. He said that opening of a new border crossing at Gabd-Reemdan will connect southern parts of Balochistan and Karachi with Chah Bahar and Bandar Abbas through the Coastal Highway.

He said Pakistan was ready to grant multiple entry visas to the businessmen from Iran on reciprocal basis.

Discussing implementation of mutually agreed projects, the president said besides expeditious implementation of Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline project, Pakistan also wanted to carry forward the proposed projects of 1000 MW Taftan-Quetta Power Transmission line and the 100 MW Gwadar power supply.

The Iranian vice president said Iran had already laid gas pipeline on its side of border and was ready for realisation of the most important energy project of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.