Islamabad: Pakistan's Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday expressed concern that the country will have to pay an amount of USD 18 billion in penalty if it does not go ahead with the Gas Pipeline project, Dawn reported.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Noor Alam Khan said: "The US should pay the penalty if it does not approve of Pakistan and Iran going ahead with the gas pipeline project. The USA will have to do away with double standards -- being lenient with India in meeting its energy needs while punishing Pakistan for the same."

The observation came after Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) informed the PAC through a letter that a meeting with the US ambassador would be arranged after his return from Washington.

As per Dawn, the ministry said: "In view of the great importance of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project in the emerging regional situation, this ministry has been exploring all possible options, including close engagements and meaningful exchanges with relevant parties, including Iran and the USA."

"In this regard, a technical team from the petroleum division visited Tehran in January to discuss ways and means to proceed with the IP gas project. The Prime Minister's Office has held inter-ministerial meetings of all stakeholders and agreed on an action plan to proceed on the IP gas pipeline project."

Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Ministry in reply to a question on the purchase of petroleum products from Russia, said an agreement had been signed with Moscow for purchasing a test cargo of crude oil which would be reaching Pakistan soon.

"Pakistan was committed to the Pak Stream Pipeline project. The two sides are negotiating outstanding issues," the ministry said, according to Dawn.