Pakistan’s PM to visit Afghanistan for TAPI gas pipeline inauguration

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas

PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will arrive in western Herat province tomorrow (Friday) to attend the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Turkmenistan-AfghanistanPakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

Abbasi will also hold a bilateral meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after the groundbreaking ceremony in Herat City, a spokesman for Abbasi said on Thursday.

Invited by the presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, the premier left today for Turkmenistan. He is accompanied by Minister of State for Energy Jam Kamal Khan.

The pipeline will transport natural gas from Glkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. The groundbreaking ceremonies will also be attended by Turkmen President Gurban­guly Malikgulyevich Berdimu­hamedov, Ghani and Indian Minister of State for External Affairs M. J. Akbar.

The first leg of the ceremony will be held in Serhetabat, Turkmenistan, where Abbasi will a meet the Turkmen president and attend an exhibition showcasing cultural performances and artistic pieces from the four countries.

Abbasi will then proceed to Herat, Afghanistan, the same day to attend the Afghan leg of the groundbreaking ceremony. In Afghanistan, the prime minister will also hold a meeting with the Afghan president.

In the capital of Herat, strict security measures have been put in place and restrictions imposed on gatherings. Citizens have been asked to cooperate with security forces during the visit of high-level dignitaries.

Kumar Gaurav, Indian consul general in Herat City, said: “I have been hearing about the TAPI project over the years and today it is a time of immense joy to see the project being executed.”

The implementation of the project would cost around $8 billion, according to some international sources. Turkmenistan already pledged to offer 85 percent expenditures to the project.

By S.Muddasir Ali Shah

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