Pakistan's Minister of State for Petroleum, Musadik Malik, on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, reaffirmed Islamabad’s efforts to maintain momentum on a significant gas pipeline project linking the nation with Iran.
Responding to recent media reports suggesting the multibillion-dollar project had been abandoned, Malik clarified during a press conference that both countries remain actively involved in negotiations to avoid legal disputes.
The project, aimed at constructing a major gas pipeline between Pakistan and Iran, has faced many challenges due to economic sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program, with recent assertions in the media indicating that Pakistan had discontinued its efforts due to these sanctions.
However, Malik rebuffed the claims, stating that the information had been misinterpreted from his parliamentary testimony.
"We are actively engaged with Iran's government towards having that gas because that gives us energy security," Malik stressed, emphasizing the importance of the gas supply to Pakistan.
Malik acknowledged the challenges posed by U.S. and United Nations sanctions on Iran that have hindered the pipeline's progress since the project's agreement was signed in 2013. Iran maintains that its pipeline portion has been completed, extending from the Persian Gulf to Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province.
During a recent visit to Islamabad, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian expressed Tehran's commitment to helping expedite the long-delayed pipeline. He emphasized the project's potential to serve the national interests of both countries.
"We stand ready to see this gas pipeline be completed, finalized, and operationalized as soon as possible," Amirabdollahian stated.
Amid growing bilateral economic and trade relations, the two nations have collaborated on initiatives such as the establishment of a joint marketplace and the inauguration of an Iranian power transmission line along their shared border.
As Islamabad works to avoid any potential secondary sanctions, both countries remain focused on resolving financial and logistical challenges to ensure the successful completion of this vital gas pipeline project by the March 2024 deadline.