PM Shehbaz Sharif Urges Start of Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project

After years of delays, the Pakistan government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, is pushing for the long-pending Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project to finally kickstart. The urgency stems from the looming threat of hefty penalties if construction doesn't commence within the next three months. With the project initially agreed upon fourteen years ago, the prime minister has directed the petroleum division to form an inter-ministerial committee immediately to oversee its implementation.

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, also known as the Peace Pipeline, was conceived in 1994 to transport gas from Iran's South Pars Gas Fields through Balochistan into Pakistan and India. However, India withdrew from the project in 2008, leaving Pakistan and Iran to pursue the venture. The project has faced numerous setbacks over the years, primarily due to concerns surrounding international sanctions on Iran, financing challenges, and security risks associated with the pipeline route.

The urgency to commence construction now arises from the risk of facing penalties worth $18 billion if Pakistan fails to meet its obligations under the agreement. Iran has already completed a significant portion of the pipeline on its side, but Pakistan's progress has been hindered by financial constraints and geopolitical complexities. Despite efforts to secure funding and navigate diplomatic challenges, Pakistan has struggled to move forward with the project.

In response to the pressing situation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has issued directives to expedite the project's implementation. These directives include forming committees, enhancing exploration efforts, promoting renewable energy, and improving governance within the energy sector. Additionally, the prime minister has personally taken charge of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE), demonstrating his commitment to addressing energy-related challenges head-on.

To address the immediate concerns surrounding the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, the government is mobilizing resources and accelerating decision-making processes. This includes hiring consultants, organizing events, and proposing amendments to relevant legislation. Furthermore, efforts are underway to resolve issues related to circular debt, net metering, energy conservation standards, and infrastructure degradation.

Weekly progress reports will be mandated to ensure accountability and monitor the timely implementation of these directives. The government is keen on leveraging diplomatic channels and engaging with stakeholders to navigate the complexities associated with the project. Despite the challenges ahead, there is a renewed sense of determination to push forward with the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project and secure Pakistan's energy future.

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