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Pakistan backtracks on Iran gas pipeline

Pakistan will abide by any US sanctions on Iran, which Washington has warned could hit Pakistani companies involved in a $7.6 billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal, the prime minister said on Monday.

world Updated: Jun 22, 2010 01:59 IST
Kamran Haider

Pakistan will abide by any US sanctions on Iran, which Washington has warned could hit Pakistani companies involved in a $7.6 billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal, the prime minister said on Monday.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s remarks came the day after US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke warned Islamabad against becoming too committed to the project because of the expected sanctions’ effects. “If the US imposes sanctions, they will have international implications and Pakistan as a member of the international community will follow them,” he told reporters.

The US Congress is finalising legislation tightening sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme. Holbrooke urged Pakistan to wait and see the final legislation before moving ahead on the deal, signed in March.

Pakistan is desperate for new energy sources, saddled with expensive power generation and a daily shortage of as much as 5,000 megawatts. The pipeline, expected to be completed by 2015, originally would have terminated in India. However, New Delhi has been reluctant to join given its rivalry with Pakistan.