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Zardari rules out compromise on Pakistan-Iran gas line project

Project to be formally inaugurated on March 11

Gulf News

Islamabad: Asif Ali Zardari has ruled out any compromise on the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, which is facing strong opposition from the United States, according to newspaper reports on Sunday.

The president told journalists in Lahore at a dinner he hosted for them that the gas pipeline and Gwadar Port to China were major foreign policy initiatives aimed at guaranteeing prosperity for future generations.

Zardari said that during his Tehran visit last week he and the Iranian leadership agreed upon the need for expeditious completion of mega projects including the gas pipeline which will help Pakistan overcome its energy crisis.

He said the project would be formally inaugurated on March 11 in the Iranian city of Chahbahar.

Pakistan is a sovereign country and it is acting in its national interest, the president said and hoped that with the passage of time the critics would appreciate Pakistan’s growing energy requirements and the need for Pak-Iran gas pipeline.

Referring to the transfer of Gwadar Port operation from Singapore Port Authority to China under an agreement signed last month, Zardari said Gwadar would become a hub of trade and commence in the region and beyond.

It would bring progress and prosperity to the people of Balochistan and economic gains for the rest of the country, he said.

On domestic issues‚ the president said the government was about to complete its five years.

The credit for this goes to all the political parties‚ the civil society and democracy-loving elements, said Zardari whose own five-term at the helm will expire in September this year.

He said the constitutional path would be followed for setting up of a caretaker government and holding free and fair elections.

The present coalition government, led by the Pakistan Peoples Party, will complete its tenure on March 16 and a caretaker prime minister is to be nominated through consultations with the opposition and will take control to oversee the general elections expected in May.