Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pakistan Pipeline Blast Leaves Thousands Without Gas

India's Hindustan Times has published a piece from Agence France-Presse, under the banner "Battleground Balochistan", and datelined "Quetta, October 24, 2006", which says:
Suspected tribal rebels blew up a key pipeline in southwestern Pakistan's volatile Balochistan province on Tuesday, leaving tens of thousands of people without gas, officials said.

The pre-dawn blast suspended natural gas supplies to the provincial capital Quetta, as well as the Kalat, Mastung, Ziarat and Pishin districts, a gas company official said on condition of anonymity.

Repair work had started on the ruptured section of pipeline at Dasht, near Quetta, and supplies will hopefully be restored later on Tuesday, the official added.

The attack was the third of its kind since Monday when two other pipelines were blown up elsewhere in Balochistan.

Rebels also attacked a passenger train with rockets on Thursday but caused no casualties.

Tensions have soared in gas-rich Balochistan since the army killed rebel tribal chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti in his cave hideout in a major operation on August 26.

Insurgents linked to Bugti have waged a two-year campaign to win more political rights and a greater share of profits from the region's natural resources.
India's Zee News dot com is running the same report, but without the banner, and without crediting the French press agency.

Pakistan's Online News phrased it this way [seriously!]:
Gas pipeline blown up in Sui

QUETTA: A 14-inch diameter pipeline was blown up by unidentified saboteurs with the use of explosive device in Sui suspending gas supply to the plant from well no 8.

According to the sources, 7 feet part of gas pipeline was completely destroyed due to the blast.

The local administration has jammed the system of plant aiming to stop the leakage of gas and started the repair work on emergency basis.

Sources revealed that the industrial zones of Sindh and Punjab are affecting badly as there is continuing declination in the pressure of gas due to the low supply of gas after the blast.
The "continuing declination in the pressure of gas" must be particularly annoying.

Pakistan Dawn had this report:
QUETTA, Oct 23: Gas supply to the provincial capital was suspended after militants blew up a pipeline in the Dasht area, police officials said. Supply to the Sui purification plant was also disrupted after the main pipeline from the gas field was blown up on Monday.

Pakistan Petroleum Limited officials said that production at the purification plant remained unaffected despite a shortage of around two million cubic feet of gas.

The officials said that the blast occurred at around 3.30am near the Sui gas field.

“It was a 24-inch-diameter pipeline, connecting the purification plant with seven gas wells,” a senior security official said from Sui, adding that the pipeline was blown up using a high-explosive device, which caused considerable damage to the pipeline.

Meanwhile, gas supply to Kalat and adjoining areas was completely suspended on Monday night following a powerful explosion which caused a fire in a pipeline.
It's not surprising to see the Pakistani spin going one way and the Indian spin going the other, at least in terms of suspects. They do agree, apparently, that quite a bit of damage has been done.

For some background on this situation, you might look at my article from early September, "Report: NATO Troops Requested For Pakistan!", where I said I would try to keep you posted on this topic. I apologize for not being able to devote more space to it. But then, how much of this are you getting from mainstream media?

Hint: NONE!