Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has said that Islamabad will go-ahead with its multibillion dollar projects with Iran and called for immediate steps to lift the ceiling of the bilateral trade to $10 billion.
According to a private radio channel, in a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Islamabad Alireza Haqiqian, the Pakistani premier said that both countries should ensure the expeditious implementation of bilateral projects including the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline and other electricity projects. Tehran and Islamabad have repeatedly stressed the importance of constructing the IP gas pipeline despite the pressure from the United States.
The multibillion-dollar gas pipeline is aimed at exporting a daily amount of 21.5 million cubic metres of the Iranian natural gas to Pakistan. The maximum daily gas transfer capacity of the 56-inch pipeline spanning over 900 kilometres (km) of Iran’s soil from Bushehr province to the city of Iranshahr in the Iranian Balochistan province is 110 million cubic metres. Iran has already constructed 900 km of the pipeline on its soil.
Ashraf said that his country’s relations with Iran were deeply rooted in historical, cultural and religious levels. He also pointed to the forthcoming 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (Nam) in Tehran and added that Pakistan looked forward to working closely with Iran for a positive outcome of the summit to uphold the Nam principles.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2012.