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Gas pipeline blown up in southwestern Pakistan

Written by: Staff

Quetta (Pakistan), Mar 01: Militants today (Mar 01, 2006) blew up a gas pipeline in Baluchistan the latest attack in the southwest province where rebels are fighting for greater autonomy, officials said.

The pipeline feeds gas to Baluchistan and officials of Sui Southern Gas Co Ltd which owns the pipeline, said supplies to consumers remained unaffected.

The blast occurred in the early hours near Pakistan's main gas field at Sui and damaged a section of a supply pipeline, Arif Tareen, spokesman for Sui Southern Gas said. Tareen said supplies to consumers would not be affected.

''We have made alternate arrangements to supply gas smoothly to the affected area so there is no disruption in supplies,'' Tareen told Reuters.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Baluch militants have waged a low-level insurgency for decades and have intensified attacks on government installations and infrastructure facilities, including pipelines and transport links, in recent months.

Militants seeking greater autonomy for Baluchistan and control over its natural resources have frequently targeted gas facilities in the province, Pakistan's main natural gas source.

Pakistan's military launched a crackdown on Baluch rebels after a rocket attack on December 14 during a visit by President Pervez Musharraf to the area.

Baluch nationalists say hundreds of people have been killed, but analysts say this could be an exaggeration.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, however, has accused the government of gross human rights violations in the province.


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