EghtesadOnline: The security situation in Afghanistan has forced Pakistan to consider new routes for CASA-1000 and TAPI energy project to import electricity from southern Asian countries.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi has recently said that Pakistan desired peace in Afghanistan, but at the same time it was working on alternate routes for CASA-1000 project to avoid Afghanistan to import electricity from Tajikistan, according to IRNA.
He said Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan but alternate routes had also been identified so that the country (Afghanistan) could be avoided in the TAPI and CASA-1000 lines.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif travelled to Dushanbe in May this year to inaugurate $1.17 billion CASA-1000 project. Under the project, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will supply 1,000 to 1,300 megawatts to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Islamabad will consume a major chunk whereas Kabul will receive around 300MW.
Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI), also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is $10 billion USD project was officially inaugurated in December last year in Ashgabat. Under the project, Pakistan will receive 1.365 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd) from Turkmenistan, India will also get the same 1.365 bcfd and Afghanistan will receive a smaller share of 0.5 bcfd
Sardar Muhammad Arshad Khan Laghari, Chairman of National Assembly standing committee on Water and power Talking to IRNA said that situation in Afghanistan is the major reason for delay in energy projects like CASA-1000 and TAPI.
“We should take steps which are in the interest of Pakistan and our goal is to implement these projects,” he noted.
He went on to say that the situation in Afghanistan is not good and there is no control of government in many parts of the country so there is no harm to look for alternative route of energy projects coming through Afghanistan.
Former Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan, Rustam Shah Mohmand also told IRNA that alternative routes for CASA-1000 and TAPI will not work.
“You can bring the transmission line from China and then to Gilglit-Balitistan area of Pakistan, but the area is mountainous and it is almost impossible to build the pipeline or transmission line over there, it would also be very costly,” he said.
The analyst went on to say that the other route for the projects is through Iran and because of insurgency in Pakistani Balochistan, Iran would think twice before investing into the projects.
“Instead of looking for alternative projects, you have to resolve problems in Afghanistan first,” he said.