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