The Public Accounts Committee raised alarm on Wednesday that if Pakistan did not move on with the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project, the nation would be forced to pay a staggering $18 billion in penalties.
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Noor Alam Khan said, ““The US should pay the penalty if it does not approve of Pakistan and Iran going ahead with the gas pipeline project. The USA will have to do away with double standards — being lenient with India in meeting its energy needs while punishing Pakistan for the same.”
After the PAC was notified by letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) that a meeting with the US ambassador would be scheduled following his return from Washington, the comment was made.
The letter was in response to an issue raised during discussions held by the PAC on March 01.
““In view of great importance of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project in the emerging regional situation, this ministry has been exploring all possible options, including close engagements and meaningful exchanges with relevant parties, including Iran and the USA,” said the ministry.
“In this regard a technical team from the petroleum division visited Tehran in January to discuss ways and means to proceed with the IP gas project. The Prime Minister’s Office has held inter-ministerial meetings of all stakeholders and agreed on an action plan to proceed on the IP gas pipeline project.”
The foreign affairs ministry responded to a query regarding the purchase of petroleum goods from Russia by stating that a contract had been struck with Moscow for the purchase of a test cargo of crude oil that would shortly be arriving in Pakistan.
“Pakistan was committed to the Pak Stream Pipeline project. The two sides are negotiating outstanding issues,” according to the ministry.