Terror escalates in Baluchistan

Nine people were wounded, five seriously, when a bomb exploded in a roadside restaurant in Hub, on the eastern edge of Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province on June 9. “It is done by those who have been carrying out such terrorist activities all over Baluchistan,” said a local police official, referring to Baluch militants fighting for greater autonomy and control over the province’s natural resources. Last month, nine people, including four police, were wounded when a bomb strapped to a bicycle exploded in the town. Baluchistan, bordering with Iran and Afghanistan, has Pakistan’s largest gas and oil reserves, and militants resent these resources being used to benefit other regions. The revolt escalated in December when militants fired rockets during a visit by President Pervez Musharraf to the town of Kohlu. Musharraf has announced plans for major infrastructure projects in Baluchistan to win local support, but has vowed to deal harshly with the rebels. (Reuters, June 9)

Suspected Baluch militants also blew up two natural gas pipelines May 19. One pipeline was attacked at Goh, around 9 kilometers from Sui, where the main production plant for Pakistan’s largest gas field is located. The second was blown up an hour later on the Loti gas field supplying the Sui plant. On May 17, another pipeline was blown up at Dera Bugti, the home town of tribal chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti, who is leading the movement for greater autonomy for Baluch tribals. Days earlier, six police commandos were killed last week in a series of landmine blasts at a training school near the provincial capital of Quetta. (Reuters, May 19)

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