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Suspected militants blow up Pak gas pipeline

The supply of gas to the 580-megawatt Uch power plant in Naseerabad was shut down after the overnight blast.

world Updated: Jan 04, 2006 13:44 IST

Suspected insurgents blew up a gas pipeline supplying a major power station in the latest act of sabotage in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province.

"The gas supply has been suspended to the Uch power plant after an explosion late on Tuesday which damaged a small pipeline," Balochistan police chief Chaudhry Yaqoob said on Wednesday.

The supply of gas to the 580-megawatt Uch power plant in Naseerabad, some 200 kilometres southeast of the provincial capital Quetta, was shut down after the overnight blast.

The incident came despite a tough, ongoing paramilitary crackdown against ethnic Baluch tribesmen involved in frequent attacks on government forces and key installations.

The government offensive was launched after rockets hit the remote town of Kohlu during a trip by President Pervez Musharraf to the region on December 14.

The following day insurgents shot at a helicopter carrying top paramilitary officials, injuring two senior officers in the same region.

Nationalist tribesmen have waged a mini-revolt against the central government in the province, demanding a bigger share of the region's natural resources and jobs in state projects as well as more political rights.

They also oppose setting up of military garrisons in the resource-rich province.

Bombs and rockets targeting railway tracks, government installations and natural gas facilities have exploded regularly since the start of last year in Baluchistan, the largest of Pakistan's four provinces.