Pakistani Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Mohammad Asif underlined that Islamabad is fully committed to the signed contract with Iran on the implementation of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project in its territories. “Building the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline is our contractual liability,” Asif said, explaining his government’s position on the project during his visit to Washington. “If we do not, we will have to pay the penalty for breaching the contract,” he added. The Minister further told the Dawn newspaper in Washington that improved relations between the United States and Iran would also ease American pressures on the pipeline. Without naming the US administration, the minister said that those who wanted Pakistan not to build the project “should be ready to pay the fines”. Iran and Pakistan officially inaugurated the construction phase of a gas pipeline project in March which is due to take Iran's rich gas reserves to the energy-hungry South Asian nation. The project kicked off in a ceremony attended by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his former Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the two countries' shared border region in Iran's Southeastern city of Chabahar. The 2700-kilometer long pipeline was to supply gas for Pakistan and India which are suffering a lack of energy sources, but India has evaded talks. In 2011, Iran and Pakistan declared they would finalize the agreement bilaterally if India continued to be absent in the meeting. Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil. According to the project proposal, the pipeline will begin from Iran's Assalouyeh Energy Zone in the south and stretch over 1,100 km through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh but officials now say the route may be changed if China agrees to the project.