Islamabad: Pakistan could and should resist US pressure regarding the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, said a leading daily on Friday.
"Each time it appears that the Iran-Pakistan pipeline deal is edging closer towards final status, an old roadblock appears: the objections of the US," said an editorial in the Dawn.
It said that with US sanctions against Iran being tightened further, Islambad's "attempt to import gas from Iran was inevitably going to be the source of some friction in Pakistan-US relations".
If Pakistan does press ahead, it asked, "would businesses and individuals connected to the IP pipeline really be placed under US, and perhaps UN, sanctions?"
"For now, the US is taking the soft route of quiet discouragement; but with the construction of the pipeline on the Pakistani side due to commence soon and gas scheduled to flow by the end of 2014, the soft voice may turn into the big stick.
"Pakistan can and should resist this US pressure."
The daily pointed out that Pakistan has "a huge energy deficit; gas shortages here will grow exponentially over the next few years; there are no obvious quick fixes at home; imported gas, while more expensive than locally produced gas, is still much cheaper than furnace oil and is the most logical choice; and among the imported gas options, the IP pipeline is one of the most viable and cost-effective".
It went on to say that it's not as if Pakistan is the only country trading energy with Iran.
"Even now, China and India import substantial amounts of oil from Iran..."