Americans and Saudis: hands off Pakistan’s pipeline please!

Express Tribune: by Pervez Hoodbhoy: Now and then, as though out of sheer boredom, the United States shoots itself in the foot and loses the occasional goodwill it creates with aid programmes. Consider the latest: Secretary Hilary Clinton says that “As we are ratcheting up pressure on Iran, it seems somewhat inexplicable that Pakistan would be trying to negotiate a pipeline with it”. Appearing before Congress, she threatened that sanctions could be imposed by the US on Pakistan’s precarious economy, and these would be “particularly damaging” and “further undermine their economic status”.

One wonders why Mrs Clinton finds Pakistan’s attempt to tap into its gas-rich neighbour “inexplicable”. In fact, there is no mystery. Half of Pakistan’s energy needs are met from gas, but only 30 per cent of gas is domestically produced. Natural gas runs the country’s electricity generating plants, powers its factories, and is used as fuel for cars, buses and trucks.


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