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Zardari seeks to allay US concerns

March 05, 2013

Asif ali Zardari
President Asif Ali Zardari — File Photo

LAHORE: Allaying concerns of the United States over the $7.5billion Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that Pakistan did not intend to offend anyone by pursuing this project of national importance.

“Let me tell you, Pakistan does not want to offend anyone. It is a sovereign country and has every right to pursue projects in its national interest,” the president said at the Governor’s House after inaugurating two recently completed projects — Allai Khwar and Jinnah hydroelectric power projects of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and a dry port at Premnagar.

The US has warned that the pipeline deal, if finalised, would raise serious concerns.

President Zardari made it clear that the project should not be seen as “against any specific country”.

He asked PPP leaders to inform people about the “bold initiative” of the government. “Since it is a big achievement of the PPP government despite US pressure, President Zardari wants us to rather build our election campaign on it,” one PPP insider told Dawn.

He said the president had also conveyed to the US that Pakistan could not abandon the project which was aimed at meeting its energy needs.