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Multibillion-dollar gas pipeline project was focus of Putin-Khan meeting

Prime Minister Imran Khan met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday as he continues to push for the construction of a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to be built in collaboration with Russian firms.

Khan’s long-planned two-day visit was the first visit by a Pakistani leader to Moscow in two decades and it began hours before Russian forces attacked Ukraine.

In view of the Ukraine crisis, the schedule of a one-on-one meeting between the two premiers changed.

Earlier, a one-hour-long meeting between the two leaders was scheduled but after the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Moscow authorities extended the duration of the meeting to three hours.

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During the meeting with the Russian president, PM Imran Khan pushed for the multibillion-dollar gas pipeline to be built by Pakistani and Russian companies.

“Both countries are eager to launch the project at the earliest,” Pakistan’s energy ministry spokesman had told Reuters about the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline.

The pipeline, also known as the North-South gas pipeline, is expected to be 1,100 kilometres long upon completion, was initially agreed to in 2015 and was to be financed by both countries, with a Russian construction company due to complete the build.

However, Khan has explained why there had been delays on the construction.

“This North-South pipeline suffered, one of the reasons…was the companies we were negotiating with, turned out that U.S. had applied sanctions on them,” Khan told Russia Today on Tuesday.

“So, the problem was to get a company that wasn’t sanctioned.”

The pipeline is of huge importance to Pakistan as it would deliver imported Liquified Natural Gas from Karachi to power plants in the northeastern province of Punjab.

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