US likely to persuade Pakistan to abandon Iran gas pipeline project

Published: September 14, 2011

Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline: PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The US is likely to persuade Pakistan to abandon the multi-billion dollar Iran gas pipeline project when senior officials from the two sides open talks today in Islamabad to discuss energy cooperation.

The two-day discussion on energy cooperation under the banner of Pak-US strategic dialogue come in the backdrop of recent high-level exchanges between Islamabad and Tehran in which the two neighbours vowed to expedite gas pipeline project.

US Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs Carlos Pascual, who arrived here on Tuesday, will lead the American delegation while Pakistan would be represented by Water and Power Minister Naveed Qamar.

The talks are expected to be tense after Pakistan, despite US objections, renewed this week its commitment to the Iran gas pipeline project.

Washington has long been pushing Islamabad to stay away from the project warning that the economic sanctions on Iran could affect the pipeline.

In recent months, Pakistan has reached out to its neighbours including Iran and China in an effort to offset the possible fallout of its strained ties with the US.

Last week, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told the visiting Iranian foreign minister that Pakistan has decided to reach out to its neighbouring countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, India, China, Russia and central Asian states to improve its relations in qualitative terms.

Despite PM Gilani’s remarks, the energy dialogue appears to suggest that Pakistan considers the US help key to meeting its future energy demands.

Ahead of the talks, US envoy Pascual along with other officials met Qamar to review cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector.

According to an official statement, Pascual told the minister that the US is keen to address the energy issues and to support the future water and power projects in Pakistan.

Some programmes are already underway through USAID and more will be discussed for financial and technical cooperation in the Pak-US Energy Dialogue, he added.

During the two-day discussions, the two sides will discuss the possibility of US financing the Diamer Basha Dam.

The US had already agreed to finance part of the project despite Indian objections, which considered northern areas as disputed territory where the proposed dam is being built.

The US move will allow other international financial institutions to finance the mega project.

Naveed Qamar told the US envoy that Pakistan is looking forward to future projects and “the energy dialogue will help both countries to enhance their cooperation keeping in view the future electricity requirements”.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • syed Imran
    Sep 14, 2011 - 11:36AM

    Pakistan should never agree to this. We are already suffering and the United States has not come up with any meaninful longterm solution to our problem,so why should we abondon such important venture.

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  • hammad
    Sep 14, 2011 - 11:37AM

    If Pakistan would going to be represented by Naveed Qamar for Pak-US talks than surely Our govt will bow down to the US persuasiveness again. PPP sould come up with real leaders to tackle the persuader US

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  • Hatim
    Sep 14, 2011 - 11:44AM

    On what is the author’s headline based on? The article does not explain why it’s likely. It won’t happen. You quickly lose legitimacy if you back out of strategic agreements within days. If they were going to back out it would have been before Zardari visited Tehran.

    Also explain: why would unilateral sanctions against Iran affect the pipeline?

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  • Saif
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:14PM

    And Pakistan will fall down to their knees and accept the demands of US, the story of energy shortfall will continue

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  • Tanvir Ali
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:20PM

    The US need to work hard or probably agree with PAkistan on Civillian nuclear cooperation – like India – to get moving. But lets say NO to them

    Movement to free Pakistan from American hegemony….Recommend

  • Vaqar (United Kingdom)
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:23PM

    This is sad, but should our rulers not have anticipated this from years of trying to work out deals with Iran and each time being blocked by the USA? Years have ticked by, with these deals beinfg negotiated and then blocked and we as a nation are getting no where as regards to meeting energy requirements. The same is going to happen with plans to buy 1000 MW electricity from Iran.

    Its time to wake up, chalk out a strategy, discounting Iran as an option in the current circumstances and look at other (though costlier options) like getting gas from Qatar or other countries in the Gulf. The sooner we start thinking about these options the sooner we are likely to meet our needs.

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  • Hamid Javaid
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:56PM

    They are going to kiss their toes and will forget what their nation and neighbor are looking for. Their stakes are not in Pakistan, Kids, property, bank account are in west and collateral grantees comes from US. Who dares to stand for poor people of Pakistan.

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  • Alsahdiq
    Sep 14, 2011 - 12:59PM

    If the US governement will be prepared to lay a pipeline from Alaska to Pakistan and supply its gas at the price Iran will charge then we should be prepared to consider its iterference in Pakistan’s internal matters.

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  • Sane
    Sep 14, 2011 - 1:17PM

    ally with Russia+China+Iran+Afghanistan and kick US out

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  • faraz
    Sep 14, 2011 - 1:18PM

    Besides Iranian gas, I think we have no other option. I hope we have the money to build this pipeline and pay for the gas in foreign exchange

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  • lady gaga
    Sep 14, 2011 - 1:25PM

    @Sane: have you ever been to Afghanistan? – they hate us and think we are the cause of all their problems. Pakistan does not have a lot to offer (apart from terrorism) so I dont think people are lining up to be our friends. the moral of the story is Losers cannot be choosers!

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  • Junaid Anwar
    Sep 14, 2011 - 1:37PM

    Naveed Qamar is not competent for this job

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  • Ali
    Sep 14, 2011 - 1:41PM

    This is highly unfair of the US… its the US that hs an issue with Iran NOT us… so why should we suffer gas shortages!

    a big NO from the people of Pakistan to US pressure!

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  • Akthar
    Sep 14, 2011 - 1:50PM

    @Sane: Why Ally with Russia & China? Both are savagely killing our Muslim Brethren. We should ally with only Islamic Country & remember that we are a Islamic Country.

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  • Blithe
    Sep 14, 2011 - 1:52PM

    It’s criminal negligence on PPP’s
    part for this pipeline to not have started yet.

    Somebody must be made accountable…

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  • Bigboy
    Sep 14, 2011 - 2:03PM

    Just do what India does or doesn’t. As it is Pakistan’s foreign policy is controlled by India. Exploded N-bomb because india did. do not sign NPT because india didn’t. Supported US after 9/11, because india offered help to US. did not speak to russia because of india. joined seato,cento, baghdad pact because of india. looking for strategic depth in afghanistan because of india. was not interested in NAM because of india. The list goes on.

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  • Ansar
    Sep 14, 2011 - 2:11PM

    Dear US, why don’t you stop interfering in our personal matters.we are happy at what ever we are and what ever we have. its better to stay in dark rather then putting ourselves under your kind care..!

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  • Adil
    Sep 14, 2011 - 2:22PM

    Over 50% of Pakistan’s energy demand depends on natural gas from transportation fuel to house hold uses, power generation and industry. Even fertilizers in this agricultural country are produced by feed stocks of natural gas. There is really no alternative to gas that is cheaper. The Iran deal is of strategic importance for Pakistan. Without this deal Pakistan’s economy is going to collapse. 190 million people’s livelihood are dependent on this. It is not a joke. Just because US does not like Iranians, it does not mean Pakistanis have to suffer for American hate.

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  • hz
    Sep 14, 2011 - 2:30PM

    @bigboy

    grow up!

    if americans dont want to do development in pakistan, they have no right to interfere in development of pakistan.
    and wat aid does pakistan gets? $2.7b/ year ? 2008-09 pak got $286m, 2009-10 pak got approx $600m…OMG so much aid we got here..!! -_0Recommend

  • Faizan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 2:36PM

    We need to let go off US dependency at any COST!

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  • uH
    Sep 14, 2011 - 2:47PM

    Recent contacts with Iran will (hopefully) bolster the Pakistani side in the talks and could lead to a higher payout from the US. since siding with the US is an accepted innevitability, I would say well played pakistan!

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  • waseem shah
    Sep 14, 2011 - 2:54PM

    @Bigboy you are absolutely right and exposed Pak foreign policy

    Recommend

  • Arshad Jamal Butt
    Sep 14, 2011 - 3:02PM

    USA just give Pakistan stomach gas and stomach gas can not fulfil needs of industry, domestic and CNG.
    USA sales weapons to Pakistan and India for his own benefit in this region and nothing for poor people of Pakistan. People of Pakistan are dying in suicide attacks, floods, dengue, Hepatitis. If USA is sincere then why there is nothing for needy people???????
    If USA is sincere then why they put hurdles in our path.

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  • ik
    Sep 14, 2011 - 3:15PM

    To save Pakistan today is to denounce US – It has a long-term plan to destroy Pakistan & if political leaders don’t understand the Pakistani awam will suffer – We are in this state today because of our so called “friendship” with the ENEMY UNITED STATES.Recommend

  • Abdul Rahman Khan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 3:16PM

    Hello pakistani rulers, this is one of the important and crucial strage when you have to prove you and not america are pursuing a foreign policy. American foreign policy is wholly and solely based on its national interests for which it can transcend its international limits and dictate other countries to submit to its do’s and dont’s. But, alas, the present crop of pakistani rulers are all subservient to america and nothing in the national interests of pakistan couild be expected from them. The Iranian gas pipeline, when completed, will meet pakistan’s energy needs. We should never submit to american pressure to abandon the project.

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  • Aamir
    Sep 14, 2011 - 3:25PM

    New episode of Puppet Show in the making. Pakistan Puppet Party will pefrom well again.

    Recommend

  • Sanjay Sharma
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:10PM

    India left Iran on the gas-pipeline issue because of nuclear deal with US and International Atomic Energy Agency and got what it bargained for. The problem with Pakistan is that it will have to leave Iran under US pressure without any substantial gains. This would be the real test for Pakistani policy makers.Let us see how things settle in due course.

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  • malik
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:21PM

    I think we should form an alliance joining hands with Afghanistan and Iran, similar to United Arab Republic, (which had Egypt, Sudand and Yemen) with common defence, and easy people movement across the three countries.

    Since we are all Muslim nations, this should benefit all of us !

    Recommend

  • syed baqar ahsan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:25PM

    American for the last 5 decades solving our problems with lots of embargoes, amendments, delays in sanctioning, spreading huge CIA/Xe networking, by creating Taliban,settling Al Qeada, providing role to India in Afghanistan, by pleasing India at our cost,by taking full advantage of Kargil ops in moulding India to own desire,supplying used war machinery instead new spare parts and sending terrorists from our soil after training to various countries,black mailing through IMF,WB,ADB,US media,pressuring us through Saudi Arabia,UAE,Turkey and UK and sponsoring dictators in our country.Now stopping us not to get any sincere help from China and Iran,again it will just living in fools(USA) paradise.Now this delegation like before has come to show a light on other side of the tunnels.They them self crippling economically what they can give us.Tell them not to waste their time they should please India leave us alone for GOD sake.

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  • Mujtaba
    Sep 14, 2011 - 4:33PM

    Allah wants to give us dignity but we donot want to take it.

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  • asma riaz@london
    Sep 14, 2011 - 5:05PM

    Wherever in the Muslim world there is America’s involvement/friendship there is chaos. And to the rulers I say please in the name of Allah block American’s interefernce as that will usher a new beginning for Pakistan.

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  • Syme
    Sep 14, 2011 - 5:38PM

    Apart from the politics and big games,By supplying the piped gas for domestic use, I haven’t seen a country wasting the resources like Pakistan, Not only its a costly project but its liable to theft. Natural gas around the world is used for domestic and industrial purposes not for running cars.
    Cylinder supplies are better for business, politics and gas scarcity.

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  • Abdul Rahman Khan
    Sep 14, 2011 - 7:05PM

    Is there any way that the people of pakistan make this issue a question of its dignity and honour and not yield to american pressure to abandon this project. I am not in favour of burdening the Chief Jusrtice of Pakistan with extra-judicial matters to deal with. However, in the present scenario, he is the hope of the people of pakistan to take up this case. Either the CJ can take the suo moto action or some pakistani representative body moves the supreme court to see this project is not sacrified at the altar of american interests. Our interests lie with the cooperartion of the regional countries and not with a country which is several thousand miles away and whose record is betrayal with pakistan.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 14, 2011 - 8:08PM

    Building a vulnerable pipeline through Jihad Central is a enormous waste of time/resources – and it’s unlikely to happen with or without the USA approval. Iran’s gas pipelines to Turkey is down on a regular basis because of terrorist activity and that part of the World is much less volatile than Pakistan. Further – does Pakistan have the infrastructure to distribute natural gas? – if not then that’s just one more expensive and vulnerable investment that someone has to make.

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  • Zoheb
    Sep 14, 2011 - 9:54PM

    Pakistan needs gas so this pipeline project is very important to Pakistan. We should also exploit our gas reserves in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and FATA. Those areas are blessed with so many natural resources especially gas and oil.

    Recommend

  • ahmed
    Sep 14, 2011 - 10:34PM

    How will Pakistanis cook their rootis in winters to come without gas? Americans want to kick us into the stone ages. We should not pick up fights with all our neighbors just because it is in American interest. We have seen the results of bowing down to them in the past and should say no to American aid and depend on genuine long term trade deals just like the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to secure our future.

    Recommend

  • Shahjee
    Sep 14, 2011 - 10:56PM

    @Syme, if its not used then lean something form Pakistanies and use it to run cars and get a green world.
    Pakistan has no option but to import gas from Iran, our natural ally. Just like US has India as her natural ally of business. We also need to use our own resources wisely as well to keep dependency locally as much possible.

    Recommend

  • kazim agha
    Sep 15, 2011 - 12:02AM

    huh! hate america..stay away from my country

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Sep 15, 2011 - 12:21AM

    @syed Imran:
    “We are already suffering and the United States has not come up with any meaninful longterm solution to our problem”

    Read what you wrote carefully. You will find the answer to your problems. You are contradicting yourself like most Pakistanis. You cry interference and attack on sovereignty on the US, but at the same time want the US to solve all your problems, be it energy or education? Do you see the irony in this?

    Why are you expecting the US or any other countries to help Pakistan out with its energy problems? Why couldn’t Pakistan take steps on its own?

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  • Sep 15, 2011 - 12:26AM

    Make it or break it, the Chinese are willing not only to Finance Iran-pakistan Gas Pipeline project but also build it, look at the public opinion in a Comments above,we can only hope that this time the Govt will show some guts and keep its words, Iran has already completed 90% of its part of this Pipeline at a Cost of Billions of Dollars, this Pipeline will serve life saving injection to our ailing Economy,American bate for funding Basha dam is long term this Pipeline was needed yesterday and if Pakistan goes ahead with Chinese believe me China will also construct Basha Dam for you. Dont fall in American trap.

    Recommend

  • lady gaga
    Sep 15, 2011 - 2:50AM

    why all the hate against america on one hand – while with the other hand we beg for aid on a daily basis and fall on our knees to get a visa and green card.
    When we pay for something in a shop we expect to get a product or service in return. America has paid a lot of money but we have given very little in return (apart from the hospitality afforded to our number 1 guest mr Osama).
    And before some people on this blog start going on about how many losses we have incurred in soldiers and civilians please remember that you reap what you sow – blame Zia who took us down the extremist path, blame the CJs office who have never convicted a terrorist even when caught red handed , blame the politicians that have no backbone to deal with terrorists that roam our country even when they kill our most senior politicians, Military leaders and jawaans. This country does not need half measures and lip service from a bunch of has been politicians – it needs an iron fist that will implement Jinnahs vision for pakistan NOT MULLAHSTAN.

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  • amin
    Sep 15, 2011 - 5:16AM

    we should just have someone with balls enuff to say F U Government of Usa . we will do what we wanna do.
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  • amin
    Sep 15, 2011 - 5:26AM

    @Observer
    we are taking our own step don’t you see we are trying to take gas from Iran. why America cant mind their own business?

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  • Sep 15, 2011 - 7:19AM

    14-09-2011 ET: America represents Satan personified on our fair earth. The earth belongs to everybody and everything. But the United States of Anarchy/Amorality is hell bent to divert Pakistan, Iran and Muslim countries from economic independence.

    If the Iran Pakistan gas pipeline is back-tracked any further, then you can start being pessimistic of the future economic STABILITY of the country, per se, and the region.

    Thanx to our collaborative politicians. Salams to our rain, terrorism and flood affected Pakistan.

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  • islooboy
    Sep 15, 2011 - 8:53AM

    ok we will abandon it but you have to give us nuclear power plants than

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  • Sep 15, 2011 - 9:56AM

    Pakistan should reject this…

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  • Sep 15, 2011 - 10:10AM

    if Pakistan does this, we will be stabbing IRAN in their back, something we should not ever do and cant afford to do.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Sep 15, 2011 - 11:27AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.When our corrupt,beggars and slaves leaders shall know the hidden harmful intentions of USA for Pakistan and when shall wake up from the dreams of carelessness and when they shall differentiate amongst the true,sincere and honest friends and enemies?

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  • Noor
    Sep 15, 2011 - 9:09PM

    Besharam hukamrano!

    ab to sharam kar lo.

    such instructions show, how sincere they are with us.

    our people are suffering from high fuel prices, not getting gas even for cooking, industries damned to freezing, economy getting dead, unemployment causing frustration & increase in crimes, and they………
    while sitting in there environmentally controlled, most facilitated DENs, they want us to abandon even this deal????????????????

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  • Observer
    Sep 17, 2011 - 3:03AM

    @amin:
    I was replying to Imran who seemed to expect the US to solve Pakistan’s problems. Anyways, Pakistani leaders have been begging the US to solve Pakistan’s energy, education etc. problems for the past 10 years. Why?

    The Iran project is good. Why hadn’t Pakistan done that 20 years ago? Why the delay? More importantly, why hasn’t the Pakistani establishment taken steps to implement coal, wind and solar powered energy projects on its own? Why has Pakistan has been asking the US for help with primary/secondary education?

    My bet is that Pakistan is not really serious about the Iran project but now pushing the project just to spite the US in an attempt at extracting more money from the Americans.

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