Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline still a long way off

Rouhani and Nawaz Sharif
President Rouhani and Nawaz Sharif

Iran and Pakistan have once again agreed to go ahead with the gas pipeline project that had been delayed primarily because of the US sanctions on Iran. This was determined at a recent meeting in Tehran between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Statements from both the leaders confirmed that the two countries were resolved to iron out all their differences, more especially those pertaining to the recurrent abduction of Iran’s border security guards by militants from Pakistan’s side of the border.

President Rohani reminded that Pakistan-Iran relations have historical connections saying that “Apart from being neighbouring countries, we both are Muslim countries having the common traditions and relations based on Holy Quran and the traditions of our Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s said that he hoped his visit would further boost the brotherly relations between the two countries” and that he was in Tehran to open a new page in Pakistan-Iran relationships” and that miscreants had been trying to sour relations between Pakistan and Iran. He promised, “We will deal with all such elements firmly and not let them sabotage our relations”

The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, which had been hampered by the US sanctions, was discussed in detail with Sharif sayingthat he was in Tehran with his team of finance, petroleum and interior advisers to all matters hindering the project.

Sharif also said that “we want security of development and development for security” while Rohani affirmed his government’s support for this and said that Iran would support Pakistan to develop and become secure.

The Pakistan Prime Minister also extended invitation to President Rohani to visit Pakistan, which the Iran president has graciously accepted “to open a new chapter of understanding”.

But it won’t be easy. There are forces at work in the region that thrive on unrest and chaos. Iran is united and so able to resist. Pakistan is divided and plagued by militancy. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan military recently closed ranks. But with US and Iran its still at logger heads and with Pakistan still dependent on western aid, the Iran-Pakistan pipeline is still a long way off.

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