Iran gas vital for Pakistan: Zardari
GUJRANWALA/SIALKOT, March 3: President Asif Ali Zardari has said the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline accord will help overcome the energy crisis and the government will implement it despite international pressure.
Addressing PPP’s lawmakers, office-bearers and candidates for the coming election at the residence of Minister of State for Interior Imtiaz Safdar Warraich in Ladhaywala village, near Gujranwala, on Sunday, he said gas from Iran would help Pakistan produce enough electricity for its industry.
He said the decision to hand over the Gwadar Port to China was also a step in the right direction which would help the people of Balochistan come out of underdevelopment.
He said the PPP government had always taken steps in national interest and history would bear testimony to it.
The president pledged that the next general election would be free, fair and transparent and predicted PPP’s success in Punjab.
PPP workers welcomed the president on his arrival and he stayed there for about an hour amid tight security.
He urged Mr Warraich to contact all disgruntled PPP workers and address their reservations.
Speaking to notables, businessmen and party workers at Bajwat’s Koobay Chak near Sialkot, President Zardari pledged smooth transition of power to the next civilian government emerging after the election.
He said the PPP government had completed its tenure despite various political challenges.
PPP’s policies ensured completion of the government’s tenure despite opponents’ negative propaganda. He said loyal workers were the asset of the party and it would safeguard their rights.
The president inaugurated a Safe Mother Home (Khushnood Rizvi Welfare Hospital) and an Old Age Home (Maskan) during his 90-minute stay in NA-111, the constituency of the Minister for National Regulations and Services, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan.
A delegation of the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sialkot Dry Port Trust and Sialkot International Airport called on the president.
APP adds: At a dinner the president hosted for leading journalists and editors at the palatial Bilawal House in Lahore on Saturday night he spoke about the significance of the gas pipeline initiative and the contract with China for development in Gwadar.
He said he had recently met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the two sides agreed on the need for expeditious completion of all major projects relating to the pipeline.
He said the proposal to develop the pipeline had been worked out in 1994 but shelved by the later government.
The project would be formally inaugurated on March 11 in the Iranian city of Chahbahar where dignitaries from of the countries of the region had also been invited, he said.
About reported objections from some quarters, he said Pakistan was a sovereign country and was acting in its national interest.
According to the president’s spokesman, Senator Farhatullah Babar, a host of domestic and foreign policy issues were candidly discussed.
The president said Pakistan had the potential to enhance its exports to $200 billion from the current less than $25bn. For this, the manufacturers would require more energy.