Pipe­line Pro­ject

Southasia - - Editor’s Mail -

The Iran-Pak­istan Gas Pipe­line pro­ject fi­nally went un­der­way de­spite U.S. op­po­si­tion. This is a ma­jor step for­ward for the South Asian neigh­bors, Iran and Pak­istan, who are join­ing hands on the much-awaited gas pipe­line pro­ject. The 781-kilo­me­ter long gas pipe­line will ful­fill much of Pak­istan’s gas needs, pro­vide an im­pe­tus to its in­dus­trial sec­tor, bet­ter its eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, and build ties with Iran. Al­though some an­a­lysts sug­gest that the Iran-Pak­istan pipe­line pro­ject, com­menc­ing a cou­ple of months prior to the 2013 gen­eral elec­tions, was an elec­tion stunt or­ches­trated by the PPP, in re­al­ity, it was the need of the hour for Pak­istan to move for­ward with the pro­ject. Where Pak­istan is ex­pected to re­ceive nearly 21.5 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters of nat­u­ral gas once the pro­ject is com­pleted, a pos­si­ble sanc­tion by Wash­ing­ton also gazes at Pak­istan’s re­la­tion­ship with Iran. Some po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, in­clud­ing Shah­baz Sharif, have crit­i­cized the pre­vi­ous gov­ern- ment led by Asif Ali Zar­dari for sign­ing the agree­ment a few days be­fore his govern­ment com­pleted its ten­ure and not when he first came into power five years back. Even with crit­i­cism sur­round­ing the gas pipe­line pro­ject, it is cer­tainly a ma­jor stride for­ward for Pak­istan, which is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing gas short­age for a long time.

Rabia Haider Is­lam­abad, Pak­istan

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