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KARACHI: Completing three major albeit lingering electricity and gas pipeline projects would provide a lifeline to energy starved Pakistan and the new government must give the topmost priority to these vital national projects, said Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor here Sunday.

He said it is the bad luck of Pakistan that successive governments due to covert pressure of international lenders deliberately lingered on the CASA-1000, TAPI and IP Gas or Peace pipeline. He said the Central Asia-South Asia power project, commonly known by the acronym CASA-1000, is a $1.16 billion project currently under construction that will allow for the export of surplus hydroelectricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Turkmenistan– Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline, also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Galkynysh – TAPI Pipeline Company Limited with participation of the Asian Development Bank. The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India. Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan on 13 December 2015, while construction of the Afghanistan-Pakistan section of the pipeline was held in February 2018.

Proponents of the project see it as a modern continuation of the Silk Road.

However, the Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline, also known as the Peace pipeline, or IP Gas, is an under-construction 2,775-kilometre (1,724 mi) pipeline to deliver natural gas from Iran to Pakistan. Altaf Shakoor said it is heartbreaking to note that the outgoing caretaker government decided to complete the remaining section of IP Gas inside Pakistan and the new government must not abandon this initiative. There are also signals of start of work on CASA-1000 in Afghanistan which is surely a positive development.

Altaf Shakoor warned that the enemies of Pakistan would fight tooth and nail to get failed or delayed these crucial gas projects as they know that an energy-sufficient Pakistan would easily break the debt trap, which means the end of the slavery of this nation.

He urged the chief of army staff and chief justice of Pakistan to create legal and national security frameworks to safeguard these projects. He said as energy security is also part of national security, our armed forces are duty-bound to oversee these matters.

He said the new government must work united for the broader national interests taking on board all patriotic political actors inside and outside the parliament. He said Pakistan needs ample energy to break the vicious cycle of poverty and deprivation and these three major gas pipelines would play a commanding role to achieve this target.

Altaf Shakoor congratulated Main Shehbaz Sharif on his election as the prime minister of Pakistan and urged him to give his ‘Shehbaz speed’ to these lingering projects. These projects when completed would not only ensure cheap gas and electricity for domestic and industrial use but also end tormenting load shedding in our country, he concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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