PEACE PIPELINE PROJECT

IRAN LAID PIPELINE UPTO BALOCHISTAN BORDER

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Nov 26 - Dec 2, 2012

Iran has already laid 1200 kilometer pipeline from Bander Abbas upto Balochistan border, however the international pressures and other factor were impeding progress of this vital source of energy to Pakistan .

Consul General of Iran Abbas Ali Abdollahi said that Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline which is also called "Peace pipeline" is being developed on cost sharing basis however the progress is slow on this project obviously due to outside pressures.

Speaking at a farewell reception extended by Karachi chamber of Commerce and Industry on completion of his tenure in Karachi the Iranian diplomat revealed that he had several meetings with last four Governors of State Bank of Pakistan on establishment of Banking channel between two countries as Bank Milli of Iran which can open its branches in Pakistan and in reciprocity National Bank of Pakistan can open its branches in Iran.

He was of the view that Pakistan's banking channels were established with various countries worldwide thus with Iran should not be neglected. He said that top Leadership and Ministers do have will to cement ties whereas progress on implementation was slow.

He said that Iran being next door neighbour can give energy in 10 cents. He asserted that initiatives were required to formalize undocumented trade between two countries. He was of the view that ECO was not much vibrant as compared to RCD. He also opined that there should be no embargo on Pak-Iran trade as other countries of the world were doing trade with Iran . He said that Iran's trade with other regional countries was higher as compared to Pakistan . Pakistani Rice, wheat, fruits, dry fruits, mangoes, textiles items, petrochemical, livestock, and meat, dairy had great demand in Iran . He urged that both countries should seriously consider exploiting opportunities as Iranian people want to see a prosperous and developed neighboring Pakistan.

Abbas expressed his profound gratitude to the Leadership of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and four Presidents of KCCI with whom he availed the opportunity for interaction from year 2010 to 2012 and managed several meetings with Iranian Business Delegations and Government dignitaries.

He did his best to bring closer two countries and its people and was of the view that sanctions won't affect historical relations between two brotherly Muslim countries. In future a lot of avenues of mutual cooperation will open. During his 29 months assignment in Karachi , he received best support from the both Federal and Provincial Governments as well as the private sector.

He however appreciated the cooperation extended by the business community and he was taking sweet memories with him and prayed that Almighty God Bless both brotherly countries and Muslim Ummah and Pak-Iran Friendship will further strengthen in future.

Consul General said that political relations between two countries were high and people of both countries had deep love and respect for each other and relations date back to centuries based on religious, cultural and traditional norms.

Present on the occasion were including Chairman Businessmen Group & former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Chairman Sindh Board of Investment & former President KCCI Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, President KCCI Muhammad Haroon Agar and former Presidents Majyd Aziz, Abdul Majid Haji Muhammad acclaimed services rendered by Iranian Consul General Abbas Ali Abdollahi.

They stated that Abbas Ali Abdollahi as Iranian Consul General successfully projected and promoted the interests of both brotherly Muslim countries. Services being rendered by him to foster economy, trade, tourism and friendly bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Iran are commendable.

Speaking on the occasion President KCCI Muhammad Haroon Agar impressed upon need to form Karachi-Tehran Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry to explore the huge trading potential between two bordering neighbour countries. He urged the Governments of Pakistan and Iran to introduce banking channel and make arrangements for currency swap to enhance Pak-Iran bilateral trade. He asserted upon the need to take measures such as economic integration and reduction in transaction costs, port-to-port activities and customs mechanism to expand the volume of bilateral trade. He urged to activate and develop regional trading block of ECO countries, particularly between Pakistan , Iran and Turkey . He proposed that the trade between Pakistan and Iran should be permitted in local currencies instead of dollars and the trade through railways and road be regularized. He was of the view that Pakistan being energy-hungry country, should seriously consider implementation of Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline project which is burning need for our country to overcome the energy crisis and for industrialization. The status of $7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan (IP) Gas Pipeline can enhance the economic relationship with Iran . He highlighted the existing tremendous potential for Pak-Iran bilateral trade and identified possibilities of joint ventures in value-added agricultural, mining and engineering sector. To enhance bilateral economic and commercial cooperation, he voiced to establish banking channel as the business transactions between Iran and Pakistan was routed through Asian Clearing Union which was more time-consuming than a normal letter of credit (LC), while opening a LC through Iran's sister companies in Dubai also adds to cost. He emphasized to deepen the existing Preferential Trade Agreement which was signed in 2004 to be followed by Free Trade Agreement. Upon agreement or on arrangements of barter trade Iran may export electricity and petroleum products to Pakistan . He underscored the need of regular exchange of trade delegations and organizing of exhibitions to enhance bilateral trade. He emphasized on the need of documentation of trade and formalizes it through Balochistan border from where presently barter trade was in practice.

Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz was of the view that Pak-Iran Free Trade Agreement was more important as compared to FTA with other countries owing to immense trading potential with bordering neighbor. He said that GCC will become the Arab Union whereas the role of OIC was not satisfactory. He emphasized to create Islamic Trading Block. Senior Vice President KCCI Shamim Firpo, Vice President Nasir Mehmood and Managing Committee Members also participated in the meeting.