ISLAMABAD – In the wake of diplomatic tensions between Qatar and Muslim countries, Pakistan has clarified that the commercial deal of importing LNG from a Qatari company would remain effective.
In what appears to be a policy statement, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan will continue to import the fuel from Qatargas to meet its energy requirement and to eradicate load-shedding.
“It is a commercial contract. Pakistan would continue to import LNG from Qatar,” Abbasi told The Express Tribune.
The minister clarified that there was no sanction on Qatar and claimed that there was no possibility of cancellation or delay in the import of LNG from Qatar.
However, Abbasi said there is a four-to-six week delay in making the second LNG import terminal operational at Port Qasim, Karachi.
“The Pakistan LNG Terminal Limited was to become operational by June 2017,” said the minister and added that Pakistan was ready to pay the terminal charges that may be caused due to a delay in imports.
Pakistan signed the LNG deal with Qatar back in February 2016 and it will enable Pakistan to import at least 35 million tons of LNG in 15 years at the rate of 13.35% of Brent crude oil.
Abbasi’s clarification follows a statement by Pakistan’s foreign office that the ties between the two countries would not be affected by the Middle East crises.
In an unexpected development, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Libya severed their diplomatic links with Qatar on Monday. The latest country to join the bandwagon was Maldives that also announced maintaining no relations with Gulf state ‘because of its firm opposition to activities that encourage terrorism and extremism’.
Reacting to the visible isolation, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry expressed deep regret over the decision of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates’ and Egypt to break diplomatic ties with it.
Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman on Tuesday said that Kuwait was making effort to defuse the diplomatic crisis.
After the untoward decision by Muslim countries, international powers were wondering whether Pakistan would side with Saudi Arabia or take a different turn.
However, a Foreign Office statement confirmed that Pakistan had no immediate plan to severe ties with Qatar.
“Pakistan has no such plans,” FO spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in a statement.
“At the moment there is nothing on Qatar issue, (we) will issue a statement if some development takes place,” Zakaria added.