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ISLAMABAD: Despite mounting US pressure, President Asif Ali Zardari has decided to travel to Tehran this week to finalise a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline deal, officials here say.
Under the agreement, Iran would offer a loan of $500m to Pakistan for the construction of a gas pipeline on its side of the border. However, the project has run into trouble due to an absence of investors fearing economic sanctions by the US.
A foreign ministry official confirmed in a report published in Express Tribune newspaper that President Zardari will begin a two-day visit to Iran today to finalise the deal. The official said that Washington was pushing hard to convince Islamabad to abandon the project. “But we feel that the project is important for our future energy needs and we will pursue it at all costs,” he added.
Earlier, a ministry spokesman said the project was “enormously important” for Pakistan. “We are an energy deficient country. It is in our national interest to have this project,” he said. Internews