The American Pressure is mounting to derail a project that Pakistan so badly needs.

By Sethi Mushtaq

Pakistan should go through the deal,regardless of the threats by US,because they themselves have failed to provide any concrete alternative,such as “THE CIVIL NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY WHICH WAS OFFERED TO INDIA” to resolve the severe energy crisis Pakistan is confronting.

More so,when India can buy oil from Iran under the same circumstances, why can’t Pakistan sign an agreement which is so important for the future of Pakistan’s economy ?”

Pakistan is reeling under grave energy crisis and to confront it, the Iran -Pakistan gas pipeline projects completion at the earliest possible time frame, could immensely help overcome it…. An excerpt and the link of it’s salient feature of a report of  Hagler Bailly, a global management consulting firm with an office in Islamabad, would gives some idea of the fact that the concerned planners were forewarned of such a situation arising, after 2007.But unfortunately no measures were taken to preempt the expected crisis.

Worsening Gas and Electricity Crises in Pakistan.

Hagler Bailly, a global management consulting firm with an office in Islamabad, warned in a 2006 study that Pakistan is going to witness gas shortage starting in 2007, and the imbalance will grow every year to cripple the economy by 2025, when shortage will be 11,092 MMCFD (Million standard cubic feet per day) against total 13,259 MMCFD production. The Hagler Bailly report added that Pakistan’s gas shortage would get much worse in the next two decades if it did not manage any alternative sources. It appears that we are seeing the beginning of the crisis that HB predicted back in 2006.

Recent Growth in Gas Demand:

Demand for natural gas in Pakistan increased by almost 10 percent annually from 2000-01 to 2007-08, reaching around 3,200m cubic feet per day (MMCFD) last year, against the total production of 3,774 MMCFD, according to Pakistani official sources. But, during 2008-2009, the demand for natural gas exceeded the available supply, with production of 4,528 MMCFD gas against demand for 4,731 MMCFD, indicating a shortfall of 203 MMCFD. This winter, Sui Northern Gas sources have reportedly told the media that the company is dealing with a shortfall of 700 MMCFD of gas due to increasing use of heaters and geysers.

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The abandoning or delaying project under pressure of the US, recent threat warning “that Pakistan could face American sanctions if it went ahead with the proposed gas pipeline project with Iran. The project was ‘inexplicable’ and sanctions would further ‘undermine’ Pakistan’s ‘already shaky’ economy” communicated in the recent past by Mrs.Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, to her counterpart in Pakistan and once again a similar reminder being messaged by the present US administration,could prove more harmful to the Pakistan’s economy and it’s regional sociopolitical interests,then the purported threatened sanctions, if and whenever put in place, of theirs made shamelessly and unmindful of the fact that Pakistan were their ally, having rendered huge human and material sacrifices for their so-called war on terror !

[box] It is about time that we stopped underestimating ourselves and put an end to drowning ourselves in the ocean of uncertainty! The odds may or may not be against us only time would tell,provided we put ourselves to the test,instead of cowering like a cowards in face of an adversary.[/box]

This not the first occasion that they have attempted to block Pakistan’s effort to ease out of their energy crisis.They even created uncalled for obstacles by raising objection against the Park-China agreement to build 2 additional reactor plants/project designated to be built at the existing Chasma nuclear plant facility. Ultimately, forcing China,  to avoid violating international agreements with the only option to alternatively supply reactors built on an older design version….Secondly,they flatly rebuffed Pakistan request for a civil nuclear agreement similar to what they had signed with India.It is more then evident that their  intentions for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity, as per their objectives,have not exactly been sincere !

The greatest, irony is that they have nothing to offer as an alternate.,except the TAPI project,which if ever materialized could take years on year.Moreover,it is no hidden secret that there were other reasons for which TAPI was reported not unfeasible.Such as that the quality of the gas from Turkmenistan was low graded,the well from which it was to be supplied, was under a Italian Company and they possibly were found to be unwilling to supply and importantly, last but not least the long route passing through the unstable Afghanistan had no guarantee of it’s security.This is in the knowledge of the US administration and sadly yet they persist in recommending the same as a better option ?…

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All these social development schemes being made and offered by foreign aid giving  agency’s would be an exercise in futility,until or unless our energy crisis which drives the wheels of the economy are not overcome and met with on war footings.Moreover,the security and law and order situation must be brought under control,it is only then that the climate for foreign investment and all these social development projects could be successfully implemented with the desired results to stabilize and boost our failing economy.

Truly,this is the time to build a social pressure on the decision making authorities to ensure that nothing apart from Pakistan and it’s people interests and benefits could be considered nor  accepted.The policy to be strictly followed, should not be anything else ,except Pakistan First!

The US administration should also be made to understand that their demand and pressure in this regard is unjustified and that any further insistence could only strain relation more between them and Pakistan. Doing disservice to their own regional plans and efforts and also to Pakistan’s interests !

Pakistan does want to retain good relations with them,but not at the cost of it’s solidarity, they have to be balanced in a way that they are mutually beneficial and serving the best interest of both partners!They must  understand our problems,national interests and also respect our sovereignty dignity !Relationships cannot be expected to sustain when their are lopsided with one side reaping all the benefits without caring for the other party.

The reality of their (US) Iran sanction being adhered to by other country’s is that except UK and a few EU country’s the rest of the country’s, who were already, trading with Iran have not bothered to end them and are continuing with their business as usual in their nations best interest.Thus,why should Pakistan ?.

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It is about time that we stopped underestimating ourselves and put an end to drowning ourselves in the ocean of uncertainty! The odds may or may not be against us only time would tell,provided we put ourselves to the test,instead of cowering like a cowards in face of an adversary.

They sanctioned us for 9 years,after the Afghan war in the 90’s.We managed to survive.Inshallah,even if it happens again,we can survive with some regional support ! Probably,barter system or some other way may come into play to avoid needs being met with the paper currency.

Thinking wisely at this juncture is the best interest of Pakistan,whose economy is sinking fast due to the severe energy crisis that confronts, it today.We cannot commit suicide for the US interest or because of their threats.The fact is that today to get out of Afghanistan,they need Pakistan support and land route.If they sanction us,it could probably be their loss more then ours.I can safely wager,they would look the other side while this deal materializes.Similar to what they opted to do knowingly with regards to our ongoing nuclear plans for the sake of support in the Afghan war during the 80’s.

If Pakistan’s, industry’s wheels don’t start rolling soon.There is possible danger of an anarchical situation developing !People are being crushed under the load of inflation,lower employment opportunity levels,industry’s are getting shutdown etc.

Pakistan stand a better chance to fight and survive,rather then allow others to slowly suffocate  and wipe it out forever.

Pakistan Zindabad-Paendabad