Pakistan’s gutsy decision to continue building its share of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline against the warnings of possible sanctions by the US has made its way into the headlines.
Within the next two years (and 1.5 billion dollars later), Pakistan plans to finish the construction of 781 km of the Pakistani section of the gas pipeline in order to solve the energy issues that Pakistan has dealt with in the past years.
Pakistan currently spends 12 to 13 billion dollars annually on oil imports to provide very expensive electricity that is not nearly enough to cover the needs of its population.
BBC, CNN, and DAWN articles have reached a similar conclusion while reporting on this pipeline: Is it really any of the U.S. government’s business how Pakistan chooses to solve an internal problem? Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabani Khar stated to reporters in Islamabad, “As far as our bilateral relations and cooperation is concerned, we do not make it contingent on views and policies of any third country.” No matter how the US seems to feel on this issue, Pakistan asserts that how they will solve the energy shortage remains to the discretion of Pakistan.
Putting the sovereignty issue aside, there are questions as to whether this solution to Pakistan energy woes is a plausible solution or a pipe-dream. According to an article by The News, a gas pipeline extending from Assaluyeh to Nawabshah may not be the most effective way for Pakistan to solve its energy shortages due to the lack of financing and technology that would be needed to complete a project of this magnitude. It will remain to be seen whether this gas pipeline is the answer to the energy troubles of Pakistan or whether it will cause more problems to arise in the face of warnings of sanctions by the US.