Pakistan has decided to go ahead with a controversial $1.5bn pipeline to import Iranian gas, a senior government official has said, in a move that risks alienating the US.
ďA decision has been made that we canít delay this project for any longer. This is Pakistanís essential lifeline. We are going ahead with this project,Ē the official told the Financial Times on Thursday.
Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistanís president, unexpectedly cancelled a trip to Iran at the last minute in December, amid concerns in Islamabad over stiff US opposition to a project considered essential for tackling mounting energy shortages. Some Pakistani officials had expected Mr Zardari to consent to the project during the trip.
The plan would see Pakistan build a pipeline connecting its national gas supply grid in the southern Sindh province to the Iranian border in southwest Baluchistan. Iranian officials say they have already built the pipeline on their side of the border to within 100km of Pakistan.