President Asif Ali Zardari exchanges views with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a meeting. – File Photo by PPI
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari is visiting Iran on Monday to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the long-awaited Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline.
The government believes the project will help Pakistan overcome the energy crisis and spur economic growth.
“President Zardari is going to Iran along with his team as per schedule to witness this ‘big event’,” the president’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn on Sunday.
Brushing aside concerns and pressures of the United States, the spokesman said the whole world should realise that the project was being commissioned purely to meet economic needs of the country and was being executed by two sovereign states.
“The government is going to initiate this important project in view of the energy requirements. The project will bring economic prosperity, provide better opportunities to the people and help defeat militancy,” he said.
The ceremony will be held in the Iranian border city of Chabahar on Monday afternoon, according to details released by the ministry of petroleum and natural resources. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mr Zardari will jointly inaugurate the pipeline construction work.
President Zardari will be accompanied by a large delegation comprising ministers, members of parliament and political leaders.
Several heads of state have also been invited to the event.
According to the schedule, the Pakistani delegation will arrive at Chabahar Airport at 9am (Iranian time) from where it will be taken to the inauguration site which is at three-hour drive. The ceremony will take place at 12.30pm.