Islamabad: The presidents of Pakistan and Iran formally launched the multibillion-dollar Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project on Monday.
The gas pipeline was inaugurated by President Asif Ali Zardari and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Chabahar near Pakistan-Iran border.
A 300-member strong Pakistani delegation led by President Zardari and comprising the country’s foreign minister, petroleum minister and National Assembly speaker and a number of prominent politicians were also present at the occasion.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi and Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mehdi Ghazanfari also attended the ceremony, which marks the start of the construction of the pipeline, intended to transfer natural gas from Iran to energy-hungry Pakistan.
The United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Mohammad Bin Dha’en Al Hameli also attended the ceremony.
US has repeatedly opposed the IP project, but Pakistan has dismissed rumors that it might pull out of the project amid pressures by the Washington.
The 1,600-kilometre pipeline, projected to cost around a whopping $1.2-1.5 billion, would enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan on a daily basis.
Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometres of the pipeline on its soil.