Islamabad said recently it was considering new taxes to help secure funds needed to build the Pakistani section of a pipeline from Iran’s South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf.
Pakistan Economy Watch, an independent economic forum, said Chinese companies should help Islamabad build the $1.3 billion project.
Murtaza Mughal, president of the forum, said gas shortages in Pakistan were hurting the country’s economic growth. The government, he added, is forced to ration natural gas supplies, something that could lead to civil unrest, Pakistani newspaper The Nation reports.
Mughal charged Washington was throwing up roadblocks to Pakistan’s energy development. Natural gas makes up more than 50 percent of the country’s energy mix and the Iranian option makes good sense, he said.
According to UPI Washington opposes the Iranian project because of the potential economic benefit for Tehran.
Washington backs a rival project from Turkmenistan, though Mughal said that wasn’t a reasonable alternative. New Delhi has backed away from the Iranian pipeline, though he said regional energy deficits may force the country’s hand on the matter.