Amid fears of possible sanctions being imposed by Washington, Pakistan has decided to hire the services of international legal experts to seek opinion on effects of prospective US sanctions, in case it went ahead with the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.
The decision to hire legal experts was taken at a high level meeting presided over by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani at the Prime Minister’s House on Wednesday.
The meeting was convened to review the energy situation in the country, expand the power generating capacity of the existing electricity infrastructure and explore alternate energy sources.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh, Minister of Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Finance Secretary Abdul Wajid Rana, and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem ul Haq.
The possibility of US sanctions against Pakistan was discussed, one of the participants of the meeting told The Express Tribune.
He said that the government wanted to explore the possible effects of sanctions if it refused to bow to the pressure exerted by Washington.
“We have discussed the option of materialising the IP gas project with assistance from Russia and China,” the participant said.
The prime minister was informed that a delegation of Pakistanis would soon depart for Russia to negotiate with Russian energy giant Gazprom to materialise the pipeline project.
He also directed the ministries of water and power and petroleum to ensure that load shedding was minimised, and further efforts be made to provide relief to the public and the industry from the ongoing power crisis.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2012.