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Another Pak pipeline blown up
January 29, 2005 19:48 IST
Suspected Baloch rebels in Pakistan damaged a major gas pipeline and triggered bomb blasts near Lahore even as a key member of the ruling coalition threatened to pull out of the government if Army launched full-scale operations against the rebels.
The main gas pipeline passing over the Balloki-Sulemanki Canal in Okara district of Punjab province was blasted by suspected rebels, disrupting supply of gas to Lahore and other places.
This is the second such attack against gas installations and pipelines in the last three weeks by rebels, who are demanding more autonomy for Balochistan province.
In another incident, two bombs exploded at the residence of a Railway official and the Officers Club of Pakistan Railways.in South West Quetta, capital of Balochistan, late last night. No one was injured.
Meanwhile, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), a key partner in the ruling alliance supporting President Pervez Musharraf, asked the government to desist from using force against Baloch rebels and demanded negotiations to resolve all issues.
An all-party conference organised by the MQM in Quetta adopted a seven-point resolution urging the government to not launch a full-scale military operation against rebels and favoured negotiations.
Addressing the conference over phone from London, self-exiled MQM leader Altaf Hussain said his party would pull out of the pro-Musharraf ruling coalition if Army was deployed in Balochistan to deal with nationalist rebels.
Assuring full support to Baloch parties in their struggle for more autonomy, Hussain said army actions in the past in East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh, Balochistan, Karachi and Hyderabad have only aggravated the situation.
"Past experiences told us that political and democratic issues should be settled purely through political means and not through guns as these methods would create complications and develop hatred and ill-will towards the federation," the local daily Dawn quoted him as saying.
The meeting was boycotted by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Islamist Muthahida Majlis Amal (MMA), but was attended by ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), which, however, abstained when the resolutions were put to vote.
Hussain demanded complete autonomy to all provinces so that they could run their affairs without interferences and usurpation of their resources by the Centre, rejecting the Centre's strict policy of centralisation of the 70s, which he said had led to the dismemberment of the country.
More reports from Pakistan
More reports from Pakistan