Extremists blow up Punjab gas pipelines

February 11, 2014 - 9:47:23 am

Workers repairing the pipelines after they were blown up by unidentified men near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab, about 600km south of Islamabad yesterday.

QUETTA: Separatist insurgents in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province have blown up three pipelines supplying natural gas to the country’s biggest province Punjab, depriving factories and homes of fuel for several days, officials said yesterday.

The explosions occurred Sunday night near the Punjabi city of Rahim Yar Khan, which lies close to the border with restive Baluchistan province, said Arif Hameed, a spokesman for Sui Northern Gas company.

“Three gas pipelines were simultaneously blown up, measuring 36, 18 and 13 inches in diameter, that disrupted gas supply to Punjab,” he said, adding workers would have the lines repaired over the next two days.

Sarbaz Baloch, a spokesman for the Baloch Republican Army, said by phone his group had carried out the attacks.

Baluchistan is Pakistan’s biggest but least populous and least developed province. A long-running separatist movement is seeking more autonomy and a greater share of natural resources, including the gas the province supplies to the whole country.

Hameed said Punjab, home to around 100 million people, was being supplied by a single pipeline as a result of the attack.

“We are working on the 36-inch pipe, hopefully it will be repaired today and 70 percent of the gas supply will be restored,” he said.

A bomb attack claimed by the separate Baloch Liberation Army yesterday in the district of Sibi, 140 kilometres southeast of the provincial capital Quetta, injured 11 paramilitary troops, according to a spokesman Abdul Wasey.

REUTERS

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