ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Wednesday that there were multiple sources available for funding the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and that a Chinese bank’s decision to back off from funding the project will not affect plans to import gas from the neighbouring country.
“There are multiple sources available and this is fairly a very viable project,” Khar told reporters at a joint news conference with her Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt in Islamabad.
Khar brushed aside the impression that the Chinese decision would affect the country’s plan to import gas from neighboring Iran. Pakistan is pursuing the project despite mounting US pressure to abandon the project.
Parliamentary review of US ties
The foreign minister insisted that the government’s decision to rewrite terms of engagement with the US, NATO and ISAF will expand cooperation with international players instead of contracting it.
“We hope that the world will respect the new terms of engagement,” she said, adding that Pakistan wanted to assist western forces stationed in Afghanistan with a smooth exit from the war-torn country.
Khar pointed out that Pakistan and the west had “convergence” on the issue of Afghanistan, but the area of difference was the “tools” being used to achieve the ending objective.
Pakistan seeks justice for US killing in Kandhar
The foreign minister strongly condemned the killing of 16 Afghan civilians including children by a US solider in Afghanistan. “We condemn this act in the strongest possible terms and we want that the person responsible for this must be brought to justice,” she said.
The Swedish foreign minister, whose country is also part of the ISAF, expressed his “deepest regret”’ over the incident.
“We hope this will not affect the overall policy in Afghanistan,” he said.
Pakistan-Sweden bilateral ties
Khar said Pakistan and Sweden have decided to double the existing volume of bilateral trade from $450 million to $900 million by 2014.
The Swedish foreign minister said his country endorsed Pakistan’s position that trade, not aid was the solution to the problem.