Pakistan sticks on Iran gas pipeline project

Despite the threat of sanctions from the United States, Pakistan refused to abandon the multibillion-dollar Iran gas pipeline project, saying the project between the neighboring states was beyond the scope of US sanctions imposed against Tehran.

“Pakistan is committed to the Pak-Iran gas pipeline and sanctions do not cover this project. There is no change in our stance and we are working to complete the project by 2014. We believe that this project is beyond the scope of the relevant UN resolutions which we are obliged to comply with like all other member states,” said Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit on Thursday.

The U.S. is pressing Pakistan to give up the plan to import gas from Iran. Conversely, the government has so far publicly balked the pressure, claiming the project was vital for the country’s energy requirements.

According to the Foreign Office, Pakistan had studied the US legislation about sanctions on Tehran and it was clear they did not cover the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project.

Pakistan had frequently stated that the nuclear issue of Iran should be resolved serenely through dialogue by the international community, Abdul Basit added.

However, the spokesperson rejected the media reports saying, “No such bilateral visit between Pakistan and Iran has been finalized yet.” About Marc Grossman’s statement that the U.S. was ready to engage with Pakistan anywhere and anytime, he observed, “There is no disengagement. We are engaged through diplomatic channels.”

The US ambassador in Pakistan was very active and met the foreign minister the day before yesterday and Pakistani ambassador in the U.S. had been meeting senior officials, he added.

He opined that interaction at the political level would have to wait until the completion of their parliamentary process underway to revise terms of engagement with Washington and allied forces.

The FO spokesperson mentioned in clear-cut words that Pakistan wants a peaceful Afghanistan in the region.

He asserted, “We have always categorically said that we would be supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-sponsored reconciliation process. This continues to be our position. We will support any effort that leads to reconciliation and political stability in Afghanistan.”