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Tight security for gas pipelines in Sui

Major gas fields are located in Sui town of Balochistan and account for 60 per cent of Pakistan's gas supplies.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2006 16:21 IST

Repeated attacks by insurgents on oil pipelines in Sui town of Balochistan, which accounts for about 60 per cent of Pakistan's supplies, have forced worried authorities to take strict security measures.

"We are considering stringent measures for the security of the gas pipeline and government installations in Balochistan," a senior official at the interior ministry said.

Major gas fields are located in Sui, about 300 km southwest of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

The official said paramilitary troopers had been posted at vulnerable points in Sui from where a major gas pipeline passes and where the main plant is located.

On Tuesday night the rebels once again blasted the gas pipeline disrupting supply to several areas in Sindh province and a 500 MW power station in Uch that was forced to suspend its operation.

The official said President Pervez Musharraf had directed the authorities to be "very careful about the pipeline."

This was the sixth major disruption since November last year when trouble started in Balochistan.

The sparsely populated but mineral-rich province has seen sporadic violent attacks on government and military installations by the tribals fighting for provincial autonomy and a bigger share of royalties for gas from the area.

In another incident on Tuesday, three wells supplying gas from the Loti area of Pir Koh gas field has also been suspended due to subversive activities, said an official.

Reports said that in retaliation, paramilitary troops attacked the fortified house of Nawab Akbar Bugti in Dera Bugti, 60 km north of Sui.

Bugti's spokesman, Agha Shahid, said the leader's residence caught fire after shelling by the law-enforcing agencies that damaged five cars.

He said Nawab Bugti and his family were not present at the time. Unconfirmed media reports said they were hiding in the mountains.

Bugti is leading the agitation by the nationalists against the government. The Baloch Sardar, whose party has representation in parliament, is also calling for an increased share for Baloch people in jobs.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 21:18 IST