The message from Saudi King Abdullah was conveyed by the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in his meetings with Pakistani leaders on Tuesday.
Unnamed diplomatic sources in Pakistan said Saudi Arabia has asked the Pakistani government to reconsider its decision to pursue energy cooperation with Iran, which includes the construction of the IP gas pipeline and purchasing electricity and oil from Tehran.
The deputy foreign minister also had a meeting with Pakistani premier Yousaf Raza Gilani during which, a prime minister’s aide said a “special message” from the Saudi monarch was delivered.
Saudi Arabia is said to have offered Pakistan a loan for the construction of a new oil facility to bail the country out of its financial and energy crises.
A Pakistani official, who asked not to be named, said the offer would be discussed at a Pak-Saudi joint ministerial meeting which is being planned.
The Saudi official’s visit closely followed a trip by Saudi Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz bin Mohiuddin Al-Khoja last week.
Energy-hungry Pakistan is looking to increase its fuel imports from various sources, including Iran, to reduce power shortages that have crippled the country’s industry and shaved percentage points off its GDP growth.
Washington has frequently indicated its resentment at the IP gas pipeline project. An article published in the International Herald Tribune on January 25, said Washington is trying to lure Islamabad away from the project by offering cheaper gas to the country.
The multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline aims to export a daily amount of 21.5 million cubic meters (or 7.8 billion cubic meters per year) of the Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.
The maximum daily gas transfer capacity of the 56-inch pipeline which runs over 900 km of Iran’s soil from Asalouyeh in Bushehr Province to the city of Iranshahr in Sistan and Baluchestan Province has been estimated at 110 million cubic meters.