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EghtesadOnline: Senior Pakistani diplomat strongly believes that Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project is not an ordinary gas import project but a lifeline for Pakistan.

In an interview with IRNA, Former Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Akram Zaki said the IP is the most feasible project for Pakistan to overcome its energy crisis. 

“My view has been very clear on the IP for the past ten years. I do believe IP pipeline is Pakistan's lifeline. The Americans have been putting pressure on Pakistan in past and Saudis have also been influencing them asking Pakistan to go for the TAPI(a gas pipeline project to transfer Turkmenistan's gas to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India), which I think will probably become reality in 50 years not before that,” former Pakistan ambassador to the US and China said.

He noted that the IP is already completed on the Iranian side up to the border and Pakistan has to just start benefiting from the project. 

The diplomat viewed that Pakistan should also have a major agreement with Iran for buying electricity because Iran is offering electricity at a price which is much cheaper than the production coming here at various places. 

“We should have both electricity and the gas from Iran as soon as possible and ultimately India will have to come back to the IP. The project, originally used to be called 'IPI'(Iran, Pakistan, India gas pipeline) but the Indian side left the project for some reasons.'

The analyst went on to say that Pakistan and Iran have a common land route, they are friends, and don’t have a border dispute so they can have a land transit arrangement through the various channels which are open and Iran can be connected to CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) very easily. 

Regarding Iran-Pakistan ties, the diplomat said, 'I was very happy when our Prime Minister was in New York and President Rouhani met him, he offered two things one he invited Nawaz Sharif to visit Iran and secondly he offered security cooperation and my view is that we should make a positive response on both.'

He said Pakistan has security problem on two borders, ‘but with China and Iran we have a good border and with the help of Iran I personally believe that Pakistan can improve situation in Afghanistan.’

Commenting on the US recent election, he viewed the Americans have three things against Pakistan, they don’t want any Muslim country to become a nuclear power and we are a nuclear power, secondly they are now trying to control China and we are very close to China, thirdly we are a Muslim nation.

Akram Zaki expressing his views said Pakistan Prime Minister has sent a strong message to new US President-elect Donald Trump saying we are ready to work with you and my analysis is that defeat of Hillary Clinton is really the defeat of American establishment by the silent majority of the American people. 

He said that many US people were very unhappy with the establishment. Truly speaking, they have not voted for Donald Trump, they have voted against the establishment, so it is rejection of the establishment. 

“Although Trump is making difficult statements, but I think when he come to office he is going to have better relations with Russia, he will probably go against Daesh which was being supported and he is going to stop all those people fighting against Bashar al-Assad so the situation in the Middle East and Ukraine will improve, but on Palestine he is a hardliner,” he said.

The expert added as far as China is concerned Trump may not have a military provocation, but his emphasis would be more on economic war because he wants to increase the production inside the United States and he will probably put duty on Chinese goods. 

Iran gas Iran-Pakistan pipeline Akram Zaki