Reports have appeared in a section of press about Saudi Arabia’s offer of an “alternative package’ to cope with the energy crisis in return for Pakistan to abandon the Iran gas pipeline project. There are no two opinions that Saudi Arabia has been a long standing friend of ours that has helped us on many an occasion. The country’s gesture of support is welcome but it stands to reason that the pipeline is also in our national interest and is the only way of inexpensive and quick source of energy. Almost 90 percent of the work on the project inside Iran’s territory has been completed, while a contract to a Russian firm for its timely construction inside Pakistan has recently been given. In the process Islamabad has also faced considerable US pressure to back out of the project since Washington wanted to isolate Iran at all costs. In fact one of the reasons that India was given the civil nuclear technology was to keep it out of the project.
Currently, our supply and demand gap has reached such horrific proportions that it is only a project of this magnitude that can bail us out of the crisis. Also Iranians have time and again expressed the commitment that the supply of gas can be doubled given Pakistan’s needs. We should go ahead with the project and see to it that it is commissioned in its stipulated time.