ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday emphasised the need for early completion of the ambitious multi-billion-dollar Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline project, expressing the hope that it would help overcome the energy crisis in the country.
“Pakistan is committed to early completion of the Tapi pipeline project,” the president said while talking to Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Meredov Rashid Ovezgeldiyevich at the Presidency.
The meeting proposed to establish a committee under the Joint Working Group to expedite the process for early completion of the project.
The president said Pakistan attached utmost significance to its ties with Turkmenistan as the two countries enjoyed excellent relations in various fields, besides maintaining a unanimity of views on major international and regional forums, including the UN, the Economic Cooperation Organisation and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Turkmenistan’s foreign minister discusses project with President
He highlighted the importance of regional connectivity and economic integration, suggesting both the countries join hands for the same.
The 1,800-kilometre pipeline is expected to carry 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas every year from Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh, the world’s second-largest gas field, to the Indian city of Fazilka. It will pass through Herat and Kandahar, in Afghanistan, and Quetta and Multan.
There are two phases of the project: a free flow phase with an estimated cost of $5-6bn and installation of compressor stations for at least $1.9bn.
In his meeting with the Turkmen foreign minister, President Alvi congratulated the visiting dignitary on the successful holding of the 17th extraordinary session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
He hoped the session would succeed in getting the international support required to address the crisis in Afghanistan. He urged the international community to realise the gravity of the situation and support the disaster-stricken country in this hour of need.
The president underlined that Afghanistan should not be further squeezed and the blocked money released to counter the worsening economic and humanitarian crises.
He recalled his recent visit to Turkmenistan and said he had held very “fruitful” meetings with his Turkmen counterpart and both sides emphasised the need for early completion of the Tapi gas pipeline project.
Speaking on the occasion, the Turkmen foreign minister conveyed to the president warmest wishes from President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.
He said the visit of President Alvi to Turkmenistan was a great support for them that would further boost cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2021