Pak, Iran agree to speed up gas pipeline project

Pakistan also agreed to allow the Iranian government to open a bank in the country.

Islamabad: Pakistan and Iran on Thursday agreed to
step up efforts to complete the multi-billion gas pipeline
project, as Islamabad allowed Tehran to open a bank in the
country to boost bilateral trade and business.

Iranian Foreign Minister Akbar Salehi today met Pakistani
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the two leaders decided
to speed up the pipeline project, a statement from the Prime
Minister office said here.

Pakistan also agreed to allow the Iranian government to
open a bank in the country to facilitate the business
community to play its role in the development of economies of
the two sides, officials said.

The Iran-Pakistan pipeline was originally meant to have
India as its terminal location but New Delhi has not been able
to make a firm commitment on the project to date.

Gilani emphasized the importance of expediting projects
to build a gas pipeline from Iran and to import 1000 MW of

Salehi, who was in Islamabad to attend a two-day Joint
Economic Commission meeting that concluded today, said the
Iranian part of the gas pipeline will be completed by the
middle of next year.

Iran could export electricity to Pakistan now if it could
be connected with the country’s grid system, he said.

Pakistan and Iran decided to create an Investment Fund to
encourage the private sector to undertake investments in the
two countries.

It was also decided to rationalize the tariff regime
between the two countries to boost trade and curb smuggling,
an official statement said.

Both sides exchanged views on a gamut of issues ranging
from trade, energy, communications, rationalising tariffs to
combating terrorism, which poses grave dangers to the security
and economic advancement of the two countries and the region.