The Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, a crucial long-term collaboration between Tehran and Islamabad, has encountered numerous setbacks and funding hurdles over the years. Despite these challenges, the government recently decided to initiate the construction of an 80-kilometer segment of the pipeline, stretching from the Iranian border to Gwadar. This decision aimed to mitigate potential penalties amounting to $18 billion from Tehran.

However, tensions escalated when Washington expressed its disapproval of the project and warned about the risks associated with engaging in business with Tehran. This warning came amid Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik’s assertion that Pakistan would pursue an exemption from US sanctions related to the gas pipeline initiative. Malik emphasized that Pakistan could not afford to face sanctions on this critical project.

Interestingly, Malik’s stance contradicted the position articulated by the Foreign Office, whose spokesperson had stated unequivocally in a recent press briefing that there would be no room for negotiation or waivers from third parties. This discrepancy highlights the complex diplomatic and economic dynamics at play, as Pakistan navigates its relationship with both Iran and the United States in the context of this vital infrastructure project.

The matter gained significant attention following detailed testimony by US diplomat Donald Lu before a US House subcommittee, where he emphasized Washington’s staunch commitment to thwarting the construction of the pipeline. Lu highlighted during this testimony that Islamabad had not sought a waiver for any potential US sanctions associated with the project.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the US State Department, fielded questions regarding the US warning concerning the pipeline. A reporter pointed out that it appeared the United States had left Pakistan with no solution to its energy crisis.

In response, Miller stressed that assisting Pakistan in addressing its energy shortage was a top priority for the United States. He highlighted US support for adding approximately 4,000 megawatts of clean energy capacity in Pakistan, which had significantly bolstered the nation’s electricity production, benefiting millions of Pakistani households.

Moreover, Miller elaborated on the United States-Pakistan Green Alliance, an initiative aimed at tackling pressing environmental issues. Through this partnership, the two countries are collaborating on various fronts, including water management, climate-smart agriculture, and the promotion of renewable energy solutions.


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