The dream of regional integration has been transforming into a reality after leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India joined hands in Mary city of Turkmenistan to formally launch the historic TAPI gas pipeline project. The project, which will cost $10 billion, will be completed by 2019 and will ensure supply of 1325mmcfd (million cubic feet per day) natural gas to Pakistan to help mitigate energy crisis in the country. Starting from Galkynys gas field of Turkmenistan, the pipeline will pass through Afghanistan into Pakistan and it will culminate at Fazilka town of India near the Pak-Indian border. The project will benefit around 1.5 billion people in this region and the ‘blue fuel’ known in the Turkmen’s local dialect will continue flowing by 33 billion cusec meters per annum.
Highlighting the importance of the project, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the flagship project would usher in a new era of shared prosperity and socio-economic development in the region and transform the lives of millions of people in the region. No doubt the presence of the leaders of all the parties involved in the project indicates the importance they attached to the project and their commitment to complete it as early as possible. As a matter of fact, this is the century of economy and regional integration. The people living in South Asia and Central Asia share not only common history and culture, but also business trade and economy. Instead of trading with far lung areas, it is better to develop regional trade for the benefits of the common man.
Despite having vast oil and gas reservoirs in Pakistan, the country has been facing severe energy crisis for the last two decades and supply of gas from Turkmenistan will give new lease of life to the ailing industry in the country. However, insurgency in Afghanistan and parts of central Asian states is the big threat to the pipeline project. Pakistan on its part can do anything for the safety of the pipeline, but one country cannot do everything all alone. Prime minister has correctly pointed out that Pakistan has no control over the Afghan Taliban but it will use whatever influence it has to bring peace and prosperity to this region. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimohamedow and Indian Vice President Muhammad Hamid Ansari pushed the button of 1,814-kilometer pipeline project, hoping that the work will be completed in four years. Work on another power project CASA-1000 was being carried out expeditiously and it gives a message to India and Bangladesh to change their anti-Pakistan policies for peace and prosperity of this region.