IP gas project: Alienating US, Pakistan and Iran signal firm resolve

Published: February 7, 2012

Neighbours vow to ‘intensify’ work on the pipeline. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Despite mounting American pressure on Islamabad to abandon the project, Pakistan and Iran vowed to ‘intensify’ work on the multi-billion dollar gas pipeline.

The move to expedite work on the project came at the meeting of the Pakistan-Iran bilateral talks led by visiting Iranian International Affairs Vice President Ali Saeedlou and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

“Work on the gas pipeline will be intensified in a bid to complete the project as soon as possible,” asserted Shaikh. The Iranian vice president also expressed his commitment to the project and vowed to complete the pending work at the earliest.

“Both sides reviewed the progress on the IP project and we are confident that it will be completed by the end of 2014,” Petroleum Secretary Ijaz Chaudhry told The Express Tribune.

However, the announcement is bound to draw a strong reaction from Washington, which has recently delivered its toughest warning yet to Pakistan regarding the plan to import gas from Iran.

Last week, a senior US diplomat conveyed to Islamabad that any attempt to go ahead with the gas pipeline would be considered as ‘furthering Iran’s nuclear programme’, sources said.

An US diplomat has also confirmed the development saying that Washington has serious reservations over the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas project.

“Pakistan will be in for serious trouble if it does not abandon the project,” the American diplomat warned, while talking to The Express Tribune.

“Any country, any bank or any financial institution which tries to work with Iran, will certainly be slapped with sanctions,” he maintained saying Washington was offering alternatives to Islamabad to meet its energy needs.

Islamabad and Tehran also discussed ways to enhance banking cooperation and strike a currency swap arrangement to promote bilateral trade.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Feb 7, 2012 - 9:59AM

    Why doesn’t United States have mercy on us poor souls and understand that we are a poor nation that needs power supplies for its industries to work. We are not in a position to pick and choose.
    If this pipe line fails, our economy won’t start growing and hundreds of more extremists will join the line

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  • Rizwan
    Feb 7, 2012 - 10:04AM

    Well done Pakistan ,,,Please get the gas from Iran its the most workable and affordable source of energy .

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  • Kashif
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:35AM

    @ Pakistani Agnostic,

    Dear the negatives you mentioned are the goal of US for us…….

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:40AM

    Here is an interesting news in Pakistan’s leading newspaper “Dawn” – Feb. 6, 2012 on the US Congressional hearing scheduled for Feb. 8, 2012 for an exclusive discussion on Balochistan..

    http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/06/us-congressional-hearing-may-spell-trouble-for-pakistan.html

    Can the IP pipeline materialize if Balochistan becomes an independent country ?

    USA is very upset with Pakistan after the OBL incidence and continued fueling of the fire by Pakistan, such as memogate, harassment of Dr. Afridi, huge anti US rallies by extremist and religious organizations, stoppage of NATO supply routes, continued support of Talibans, suspicion of sheltering Mulla Omar and Zawahiri, and many more foolish actions encouraged and organized by the Establishment will make matters worse for Pakistan.

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  • Saad
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:46AM

    Well done government. Something we were unable to in eight years of Musharraf rule is hapening under a much weaker civilian government. Bravo!

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  • Vigilant
    Feb 7, 2012 - 1:37PM

    For how long we will pursue American agenda in this region at the cost of our own interests……..it must stop some-where

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  • Roshan
    Feb 7, 2012 - 2:11PM

    A much weaker government who is shia in nature and supports shiaism. Why dont they concentrate on stopping destabilizing afghanistan. That way they will kill two birds with ine stone. They will have a more peacefull country and much cheaper energy.

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  • Kashif
    Feb 7, 2012 - 2:14PM

    Pakistan is finally learning how to take decisions, which are in its own favour. US should stop taking us as its coloney. We should do everything to fuel our indsutries and economy.

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  • Blithe
    Feb 7, 2012 - 2:50PM

    @Raj – USA:
    Raj, Balochistan and Kashmir are two different issues.

    Balochistan is part of Pakistan within ever legal instrument;
    Kashmir is legally an occupied territory.
    We will be better on the illegal by India on Kashmir.

    1/3rd of India is under Maoist control.
    But that is legally part of India…
    With your logic, perhaps it should not be.
    After all, Maoist insurgency in India is far more
    serious than anything happening in Balochistan.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Feb 7, 2012 - 2:54PM

    Stop making all this Noise and start actually building it !!! Let’s see what the end result for Pakistan is likely to be from USA.
    Rest assure it would be a disaster for pakistan’s Economic survival !!

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  • Parvez
    Feb 7, 2012 - 3:07PM

    This is looking more and more like brinkmanship on our part and it also looks like it will backfire and Pakistan will end up with egg on its face and possibly some people will get much richer when the difficult question of compensation will arise.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 7, 2012 - 6:17PM

    One gets weary of all the speeches about the IP — if you don’t need the USA to build the pipeline then quit talking and start building – if you can’t build the pipeline without the USA approval then shut up and focus on another alternative.

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  • Imran Mohammad
    Feb 7, 2012 - 7:30PM

    @Raj – USA, US congressional hearing are worth nothing for Pakistanis. No one gives a damn to what these politicians, elected by special interest money (aka lobbyists) under the garb of democracy, say. As far Baluchistan is concerned, it will never become an independent country at least not before Maoists in India gain independence from India. Baluchistan is no Bangladesh. So you can keep daydreaming along with your compatriots and continue servile flattery of Americans while living in their country.

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  • John B
    Feb 7, 2012 - 7:43PM

    Guys, all chill. IP is not going anywhere until Iran issue is resolved, which may take another 10 years.

    No international banking house will finance the project and no insurance company will insure the line, and neither Iran nor PAK can afford to finance the project for PAK. End of story.

    All these rattling is to pressure US to talk to Kuwait and Saudi’s to provide subsidized fuel fuel beyond what PAK is already getting.

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  • antony
    Feb 7, 2012 - 7:49PM

    @Imran, remember you are planning to fight with US and west and you should realise the consequence.Till date US is saying pakistan is an ally to the whole world .The moment it declares pakistan an enemy with West backing it ,pakistan would come to its knees holding the bomb.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Feb 7, 2012 - 8:20PM

    @Blithe:
    Enlighten me as to your defination of “legally occupied ” first !!!
    Don’t be so selective about the issues regarding Kashmir ! I suggest you read the facts as to backgriund, rather than what may have been taught to you in History class !
    Did they teach you as to, what actually happened in East Pakisran?
    If i were you, i would be concerned as to how Pakistan is likely to survive next decade in its own present form !!!
    Rest assure it does not need outsiders as it will implode from within !

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  • Ahsan
    Feb 7, 2012 - 8:43PM

    @ Cuatious,
    who is asking US to help build the IP pipeline? The work is already underway in case you dont know,where are you from? Timbuktu?

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  • Ahsan
    Feb 7, 2012 - 8:44PM

    @Raj -USA
    Your pipe-line pipe-dreams with Iran and Central Asia are down pipe-hole, your comments show jealousy and insecurity.

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  • Feb 7, 2012 - 10:16PM

    @Roshan: Most of oil in from Saudia to Iran comes from Shia areas, what is your point! Do you think whole World acts Shia when they buy fuel extracted from that area.Recommend

  • David Salmon
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:28PM

    @Pakistani Agnostic:
    According to news reports, LPG is available from US sources at prices cheaper than gas from Iran. If Pakistan were concerned about its interests, and opposed to nuclear proliferation, it would seize the opportunity to import its gas from the US, but Pakistan seems more interested in sticking a thumb in the US’s eye in the name of sovereignty, less about gas supply. And as its for support of nuclear proliferation, well, AQ Khan no doubt can vouch for Pakistan’s (and Iran’s) good intentions.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:48PM

    This pipe line is non starter ! No matter, how much noise is made as these sanctions are already biting !
    Iran has just defaulted on Payment for 200,000 tons of rice to India ! This is just a begining of a long road before any settlement is made and neither Pakistan nor Iran are in any position to finance these types of projects on their own !!!

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  • Harry Stone
    Feb 8, 2012 - 3:11AM

    PAK is just too funny.

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  • ParvezM
    Feb 8, 2012 - 12:40PM

    @Hedgefunder:India is in big default on oil payments to Iran to the tune of $12 billion.

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  • Muhammad
    Feb 8, 2012 - 2:05PM

    why dont we get the Russians involved?

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  • Hedgefunder
    Feb 8, 2012 - 3:13PM

    @ParvezM:
    What is the source of this news?? please enlighten me, as there is nothing on this on any news sites !!!
    just make sure its not a figment of your imagination !!!

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  • Shakky
    Feb 9, 2012 - 2:12AM

    No worries, the IP pipeline won’t be built. In the first place, Iran is not exactly a reliable trading partner. Their entire economy is financed through oil exports – which doesn’t say much for their economic planning capabilities. Even the Gulf states have recognized that they need to diversify away from oil. Iran’s oil exports are steadily being reduced to a trickle due to well aimed sanctions. Pretty soon, they won’t have the money to build a doghouse, let alone a pipeline.

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  • antanu g
    Mar 1, 2012 - 12:00AM

    @Cautious:
    well it is US who are making all the noises about the project….in your biased attitude you failed to realize it. In fact US should shut up and let the pak-iran do what is better for them.Some times bias minds fail to see the obvious and you are a victim bro.

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  • antanu g
    Mar 1, 2012 - 12:16AM

    @Shakky:
    keep day dreaming friend….things have changed. US may bomb Iran but nothing more. Dyas of US cop-acts are nearing end. There is writing on the wall…nothing is going to change now according to US plans.US may be feared by its superior fire power but respect is gone…and any one without respect of others is a loser and deemed to go downhill.

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