Pakistan to raise Iran power imports tenfold
Pakistan says it is in the final stages of talks to clinch a deal for tenfold hike of electricity imports from neighboring Iran.
Pakistan currently imports about 100 megawatts of electricity from Iran for its border regions but there is a huge electricity shortfall across the nation which suffers 12 hours of power cuts a day.
More than 1,000 people died in late June from Pakistan’s worst heat wave in at least 35 years in the southern city of Karachi.
According to the Ministry of Water and Power spokesman Zafar Yab Khan, Pakistan is holding final talks for a deal to raise electricity imports from Iran to 1,000 megawatts.
The payment issue was the biggest sticking point, with central banks of the two countries in contacts to find a mechanism before Western sanctions are lifted on Iran, he said.
A Pakistani delegation will reportedly visit Tehran soon to finalize the deal.
Iran’s Minister to Islamabad Alireza Haqiqian said Tehran had announced its readiness to raise exports to 3,000 megawatts.
Pakistan is also interested in gas imports from Iran. A Pakistani delegation was reported to be in Iran on Sunday to discuss construction of the pipeline, which is planned to take Iran’s natural gas to its eastern neighbor.
The pipeline, which is also known as the Peace Pipeline, is meant to transfer natural gas from Iran’s huge South Pars gas field in Assaluyeh to Pakistan.
Iran has already completed its 900-kilometer section of the pipeline and has long pressed Pakistan to finish its part of the scheme.
Pakistan’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said last month that Islamabad was hopeful to revive the stalled project after the finalization of Iran’s nuclear talks.
“A lot of issues that have built up over the years will be resolved, especially the Iran-Pakistan pipeline… that has been hit by the sanctions,” Abbasi said
Indian media have also said the country’s officials sought to push for the revival of the $7-billion gas pipeline from Iran which has to cross Pakistan.
India dropped out of the massive project under US pressure but a recent opening in the business environment in Iran has prompted Indian leaders to make a fresh bid for the pipeline, the Economic Times reported, citing informed sources.