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Pakistan dignified to become member of SCO energy club

Islamabad: As energy politics is gaining momentum across the world, Pakistan is going to become a member of the energy club of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), an initiative taken by Russia for providing support to energy projects in different countries including Pakistan.

Pakistan is expected to get financing for gas import projects like the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and LNG supplies to overcome the energy crisis.

According to sources, all member countries of the energy club would give their inputs, which would be picked by donor nations for financial support.

SCO is an inter-governmental organisation founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by six countries including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have been accorded observer status.

India, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey are aspiring for full membership of the SCO. Both China and Russia have endorsed this status for India and Pakistan.

At present, gas politics is gaining pace across the world with Russia and United States being major competitors. After discovery of shale gas, the US is expected to start exporting LNG; so many countries are in the race to capture the Pakistan market, which is facing acute energy shortages.

Sources said the US was influencing Pakistan by forcing it to shelve the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project and rather go for expensive LNG imports from Qatar.

The US is also pushing Pakistan to pursue the TAPI gas pipeline project, which will pass through war-torn Afghanistan.

Russia and China have been favoring the IP pipeline despite possible US sanctions and now they are backing the energy club.

Russia had also offered $500 million in funds for the CASA 1,000 power import project but it fell through as other participating countries did not welcome the Russian offer.

Sources said Russia was keen to support Pakistan in implementing energy projects, but due to influence of the US lobby after the war in Afghanistan, Moscow was finding it difficult to get a warm response from Pakistan.

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