ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari is set to visit Iran on Monday to join the groundbreaking ceremony of the long-awaited $7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Dispatch News Desk (DND) reported.
The ceremony will be held in the Iranian border city of Chabahar on Monday afternoon, according to details released by the ministry of petroleum and natural resources. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Zardari will jointly inaugurate the pipeline construction work.
President Zardari will be accompanied by a large delegation comprising ministers, members of parliament and political leaders. Several heads of state have also been invited to the event.
According to the schedule, the Pakistani delegation will arrive at Chabahar Airport at 9am (Iranian time) from where it will be taken to the inauguration site which is at three-hour drive. The ceremony will take place at 12.30pm.
The Pakistani government believes the project will help the country overcome the energy crisis and spur economic growth.
“President Zardari is going to Iran along with his team as per schedule to witness this ‘big event’,” the president’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said on Sunday.
Brushing aside concerns and pressures of the United States, the spokesman said the whole world should realise that the project was being commissioned purely to meet economic needs of the country and was being executed by two sovereign states.
“The government is going to initiate this important project in view of the energy requirements. The project will bring economic prosperity, provide better opportunities to the people and help defeat militancy,” he said.
This gas pipeline project had been conceived in 1994 and India was also included in this mega project but later on, in 2009, India abandoned it.
The US constantly put pressure on Pakistan to persuade it for quitting the project. Despite all odds and threat of sanctions, Pakistan stood firm and finally set today to launch this important project officially.
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