Zardari stresses early completion of Pak-Iran gas pipeline
14 February, 2013
LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said Pakistan attaches great importance to early completion of Pak-Iran gas pipeline project in view of energy crisis in the country.
The president called for stepping up efforts for early completion of all the bilateral projects of Pakistan and Iran, in a meeting with Iranian Majlis Shura Speaker Ali Ardeshir Larijani, at the Bilawal House. Spokesperson to the President, Senator Farhatullah Babar, said the president reiterated Pakistan's commitment to implement expeditiously all mega projects, including the Pak-Iran gas pipeline, the 1000MW Taftan-Quetta transmission line, 400MW Gwadar power supply project, Noshki-Dalbandin highway and upgradation of the Quetta-Taftan track.
Zardari stressed upon the need for devising appropriate mechanisms to finance these critical projects. The Iranian dignitary is visiting Pakistan for participation in the meeting of Parliamentary Assembly of the ECO countries in Islamabad. The president lauded the setting up of Parliamentary Assembly of the ECO and expressed the hope that by promoting interaction among the elected representatives the forum would help strengthen democracies in the member countries and promote people-to-people contacts.
He hoped that it would also enable parliamentarians identify new avenues of cooperation among the ECO countries. The president's spokesperson said that in addition to Pak-Iran bilateral ties focusing on trade and commerce between the two countries, the regional situation was also discussed during the meeting. During the meeting, the president called for employing the collective strengths of Muslims and the need to shun violence to face the emerging challenges in the region.
"We have to take control of our own affairs and find our own solutions to the problems," he said. The president reiterated Pakistan's support for an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led reconciliation process and said that the release of prisoners recently by Pakistan proved its sincerity. He also called for greater coordination between the two countries for promoting peace and stability in the country. He said that Pakistan and Iran enjoyed deep-rooted fraternal relations and the people of Pakistan had special attachment with their Iranian brethren and highly valued their ties with them.
Zardari underscored the need for concrete measures to further promote mutual cooperation and to take full advantage of historical, cultural and brotherly ties of the people of the two countries. Noting the current low level of bilateral trade, he emphasised the need for taking measures to realise the true potential of bilateral trade. He said that the existing regime of tariff barriers that was adversely impacting on the economic interaction, needed to be revisited. The president welcomed the call by parliamentarians to focus on enhancement of trade, and hoped that the ECO container train would boost cargo trade not only between the two countries but also in the region as a whole.
He said that improved visa facilitation, opening of new border posts at Mand-Pishin and Gabd-Reemdan and enhancing connectivity were critical for greater economic interaction between the two countries. The president also felicitated the visiting Iranian delegation on their country's National Day, which was recently celebrated, and asked Ali Larijani to convey his greetings and regards to the Supreme Leader and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.