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EghtesadOnline: A leading Pakistani newspaper urged the government to complete the Iran-Pakistan gas project without any further delay.

‘The Nation’ said in its editorial that the excuse of sanctions against Iran is no longer applicable and the State Bank of Pakistan has already issued a notification for transactions of Iranian banks to be accepted.

It said that project is sensible and once completed, will serve to address the energy crisis of the Pakistan and will be the friendship pipeline it was supposed to be, according to IRNA.

“But the inordinate delay taken over completion has led to potential legal and contractual troubles for Pakistan,” it noted.

The editorial said it is positive that the Pakistan’s Federal Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has finally sent amendments to Iran for the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) regarding the gas pricing and extending the implementation schedule.

It would have been better though, if the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet approved this before it was forwarded to the Iranian side, especially since the Ministry sent the changes in for review last July.

A hefty fine for a daily penalty of $1 million since January 2015 has been accumulating on Pakistan. 

“But Iran is now waving it and Pakistan should make sure that this opportunity is not wasted,” it said.

It said by extending timeline of the project completion, the fines will never have been incurred and Pakistan has an opportunity to complete the pipeline without undue pressure and can get more competitive pricing terms for the gas imported.

The price renegotiation has been under process since 2013, and the fact that it’s finally happening should be encouraged by the Cabinet, instead of being shelved for no apparent reason.

Now that the Iranian sanctions have been lifted, Pakistan no longer has any excuses for delay on the pipeline, it said.

Iran gas Iran-Pakistan pipeline