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Pakistan: Suspected militants blow up gas pipeline

KARACHI, Pakistan

Suspected militants blew up a major gas pipeline in Pakistan’s northeast, disrupting gas supply to many areas, an official said on Tuesday.

The explosion caused major damage to the pipeline near Rahimyar Khan district that supplies gas to northeastern Punjab- the country’s largest province — from southern Sindh province.

The pipeline, which was exploded using a time device, is an act of terrorism, Sohail Gulzar, a senior official at the state-run Sui Northern Gas Company Limited, told reporters.

The explosion — latest in a series of similar incidents in recent past-took place on late Monday night, he added.

The company, he said, was awaiting security agencies’ clearance to begin the repair work.

The incident coincides with ongoing talks between Pakistan and Russia in Islamabad on a $2 billion North-South Gas Pipeline Project aimed at catering the energy needs of this South Asian Muslim state.

There was no immediate word of responsibility for the incident, however, security agencies point finger at suspected separatists that have been involved in such attacks in recent years.

Sindh produces 70% of the country’s total gas supplies followed by southwestern Balochistan province, whose share is around 20%.

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