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Work to begin on gas pipeline

Cabinet approves Pakistan-Iran link

Gulf News

Islamabad: Work on the construction of the Pakistan portion of the planned gas pipeline with Iran will start soon, a federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf decided Wednesday, a minister said.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told the media that the cabinet gave final approval to the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project and set up a four-member committee under the finance minister to monitor the work on it.

The minsiter said the construction of the Pakistan portion of the pipeline would cost an estimated $1.5 billion.

Coinciding with the cabinet meeting, Senior Adviser to the Supreme Leader of Iran on International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati called on the President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad on Wednesdeay.

US opposes the gas pipeline project and has been trying to persuade Islamabad to abandon it, while analysts say garnering needed financial resources for the multi-billion dollar projet will be an uphill task.

The information minister also said the cabinet decided to award a contract for operationalising the deep seat port at Gawadar in Balochistan province to China Overseas Port Holding Limited.

He said previously the contract had been awarded to Singapore Port Authority, which will now share the task with the China Overseas Port Holding Limited and transfer the responsibility to it.

The present coalition government led by the Pakistan People’s Party is close to expiry of its five-year term. A caretaker government will take over to oversee the general eletions expected in May.