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Pak-Iran pipeline project not against any country: Zardari

05 March, 2013

President Asif Zardari along with Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour inaugurating Prem Nagar Dry Port project of railways.
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LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said that Pakistan-Iran pipeline project is motivated by a need to meet country's growing energy needs and is not against any other country.

The president said that the two newly completed hydel projects of Allai Khwar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Jinnah hydro project in Punjab along with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project should be seen as measures aimed at overcoming electricity shortage in the country.

The president inaugurated three separate projects at the Governor's House on Monday. Three recently completed projects are Prem Nagar Dry Port project of Railways and the Allai Khwar and Jinnah Hydro power projects.

Presidential spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the president, while highlighting the growing need for energy resources, said that Pakistan needs to exploit all available resources particularly the low-cost hydel power besides exploring the ways and means to import power and energy from its neighbouring countries. The president said that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project was one such endeavour of the government which, he added, will be formally launched on March 11.

The president said that Pakistan was a sovereign country and had every right to pursue projects in national interest. He said that Pakistan was an active player in contributing to world peace and stability. He said that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline should be viewed purely in the context of meeting our energy needs and hoped that the critics of the project will appreciate our energy requirements and the need for importing gas. He expressed the confidence that by pursuing people-centric policies, Pakistan would soon overcome its energy problem.

President said the government was fully alive to the woes of the general public, businesspersons and industrialists due to the energy shortage, which the current government inherited. He said that addition of Allai Khwar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Jinnah Hydropower Project in Punjab will help to some extent mitigate the energy shortage.

He said that government had drawn up plans to not only meet the current electricity needs but also to cater to the future needs and for this purpose had undertaken more than two dozen hydro power projects all over the country. These included mega projects like Basha Dam, Neelum Jhelum, Dasu and Tarbela 4th Extension project. In addition, he added, Gomal Zam Dam, Satpara Dam, Dubair Khwar and Jabban Hydropower Projects were nearing completion. He said that after completion, these projects would provide 21000 MW additional electricity and would store 13 million acre feet of water. This will bring down the cost of manufactures and make Pakistani products more competitive in the global market, he said.

Inaugurating the dry port, the president said that it was a bold initiative of Railways to enter vigorously into private-public partnership. The setting up of dry ports and provision of dedicated rolling stock to the private sector to operate freight trains was a bold initiative, the president said.

He complimented the Pakistan Railways for opening up to public-private partnership in vital areas including operating passenger trains and providing track access to the private sector for freight operations. The president said that addition of dry port at Prem Nagar, which was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, will almost double the capacity of existing facility from 4 to 7 million tonnes per annum.

The president advised the Railway management to plough the profit earned back into the project to further improve and expand its existing operations to meet growing demands for new tracks and extending platforms and loading areas.

End.

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