Bomb destroys gas pipeline in southwestern Pak
A powerful bomb blew up a gas pipeline in a remote town of insurgency-wracked southwestern Pakistan, gutting dozens of shops but causing no casualties, a government official said on Saturday.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for late Friday's attack in Sui, about 300 kms east of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, where the country's main gas fields are located.
Abdul Samad Lasi, the top government official in the region, blamed the attack on supporters of a renegade tribal elder, Nawab Akbar Bugti, although he offered no evidence to back up his claim.
He said the pipeline caught fire following the bombing, destroying dozens of nearby shops.
"This is the work of Bugti's men, and we have launched a hunt for them," he said, without giving any further details. Neither Bugti nor his spokesman were available for comment.
Sparsely populated Balochistan has been the scene of scores of bomb, rocket and land mine attacks in recent years, most blamed on local elders who have demanded more royalties from the central government for resources extracted in their territories.
Although the government says it has quelled the insurgency, the continued unrest has raised fears of a repeat of violence that rocked the province in the 1970s, when thousands died in a military operation against rebellious tribesmen.