Iranian gas can propel Pakistan’s sinking economy.

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Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Thursday that natural gas from Iran has the potential to revive Pakistan’s flagging economy. He said the United States’ opposition to the project is a setback to Pakistani interests, and Washington should reconsider. The United States need to reconsider its strategy as Iran has flourished despite 45 years of sanctions, and its influence has increased on a global level, he added.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that Pakistan should establish high-level political and diplomatic contact with the US to appease its stance on the gas pipeline. The help of friendly countries should also be sought in this regard. US policymakers should be apprised that forty-five years have passed since the American sanctions on Iran, but it has not gone bankrupt, nor has there been a popular revolution. 

Iran has developed despite sanctions, and its influence is increasing instead of decreasing. Shahid Rashid Butt continued that the US authorities need to be convinced that the economic sanctions have failed, so another way should be adopted in which Pakistan can fully help America. He noted that the United States needs better relations with Iran to advance its regional interests. The sooner this fact is recognized, the better. If Pakistan buys a few billion dollars worth of gas from Iran, it will not matter to Iran, but Pakistan’s economy will recover.

The business leader said Pakistan is facing a severe energy crisis, and Iranian gas is the cheapest solution. In contrast, the United States has advised Pakistan to import gas from Central Asia, but if it was feasible, it would have done so by now. 

Iran has already built a nine-hundred-kilometre pipeline, but Pakistan is afraid of American sanctions and is reluctant to start building the pipeline. Pakistan’s reluctance can result in a fine of up to twenty billion dollars. He said that the US has imposed sanctions on three Chinese and one Belarusian company for helping Pakistan produce ballistic missiles. In 2003, the US also took a similar action against three companies. 

These restrictions have been imposed without evidence and verification, which is unfortunate and against the norms of justice. 

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