Islamabad: Pakistan and Iran on Thursday agreed to step up efforts to complete the multi-billion gas pipeline project, as Islamabad allowed Tehran to open a bank in the country to boost bilateral trade and business.
Iranian Foreign Minister Akbar Salehi on Thursday met Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the two leaders decided to speed up the pipeline project, a statement from the Prime Minister office said in Islamabad.
Pakistan also agreed to allow the Iranian government to open a bank in the country to facilitate the business community to play its role in the development of economies of the two sides, officials said.
The Iran-Pakistan pipeline was originally meant to have India as its terminal location but New Delhi has not been able to make a firm commitment on the project to date.
Gilani emphasized the importance of expediting projects to build a gas pipeline from Iran and to import 1000 MW of electricity.
Salehi, who was in Islamabad to attend a two-day Joint Economic Commission meeting that concluded on Thursday, said the Iranian part of the gas pipeline will be completed by the middle of next year.
Iran could export electricity to Pakistan now if it could be connected with the country's grid system, he said.
Pakistan and Iran decided to create an Investment Fund to encourage the private sector to undertake investments in the two countries.
It was also decided to rationalize the tariff regime between the two countries to boost trade and curb smuggling, an official statement said.
Both sides exchanged views on a gamut of issues ranging from trade, energy, communications, rationalising tariffs to combating terrorism, which poses grave dangers to the security and economic advancement of the two countries and the region.