Islamabad, Dec 15 (IANS) Building the TAPI gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan is “the first move towards realising an old dream”, a leading Pakistani daily said on Tuesday.
An editorial “TAPI gas” in the Dawn said that after years of hearing only talk about the pipeline, “we finally have a concrete step towards making it a reality”.
“The groundbreaking ceremony for the pipeline that is to carry 90 million cubic metres of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India is the first move towards realising an old dream,” it said.
The daily said that the volume of gas to be made available to Pakistan is “enough to plug just under a quarter of our total present-day natural gas deficit”.
It added that “even though the ceremony has raised hopes for a partial solution to this country’s energy woes, it is still a good idea to keep in mind that the project has substantial question marks hanging over it since the route passes through Afghanistan, where the outlook on the security situation is fluid”.
The editorial observed that it is important to note that the part of Afghanistan through which the pipeline travels is less affected by security considerations than many other areas of that country.
“And the pipeline itself can play a big role in aligning the perspectives of major stakeholders on Afghanistan’s internal situation, since it will tie the future energy security of three South Asian countries together, making them partners in each other’s stability,” it said.
“Greater economic cooperation amongst the countries participating in the project is an essential foundation for future peace.”
It went on to say that geopolitics should not be allowed to dictate priorities to economics.
“Pakistan has a lot to gain from closer ties with its neighbours, east and west, and nothing should be allowed to prevent these ties from materialising,” the daily added.