Thursday, January 13, 2005

Baloch nation' cannot be eliminated, says Bugti

Baloch nation' cannot be eliminated, says Bugti

QUETTA: Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) Chief Nawab Muhammad Akbar Khan
Bugti on Wednesday said President Pervez Musharraf could hit a few
Baloch leaders but "cannot eliminate the Baloch nation".

The JWP's chief told newsmen in his hometown Dera Bugti that
President Musharraf said the nationalists would be hit in a way that
they would not be able to know, who hit them, adding: "Baloch nation
can neither be hit nor eliminated."

Nawab Bugti said that recent incidents in Sui Tehsil were stated to
be a backlash of the alleged gang rape case of Dr Shazia
Khalid. "The recent incidents in Sui is a reaction to the apathy
shown by the government and the protection provided by it to the
rapists involved in the case. It has become clear to every one that
the lady doctor had been gang-raped and the PPL administration and
the DSG officials attempted to cover up the case."

He regretted that the authorities had failed to take action against
those involved in the crime despite the passage of 10 days. "Had any
civilian been found involved in the rape case, he would have been
awarded exemplary punishment so far, he observed.

Nawab Bugti was of the view that when no action was taken against
the rapists, an organisation called the Balochistan Liberation Front
(BLF) interfered in the matter. In retaliation, the Frontier Corps
(FC) and the Defence Security Guard (DSG) hit the civilian
population with heavy shelling, killing several men and women and
children and injuring dozens of people, he added.

He blamed the DSG and the FC for killings civilians. "The DSG and
the FC unleashed heavy fire and mortar shelling, targeting the
civilian areas, which caused colossal destruction and damaged of
houses," he added.

Nawab Bugti denied that the Sui gas plant and other installations
had been targeted during five days' firing incidents. "Contrary to
the government claims, all installations of the Sui gas are safe.
Had the gas installations been targeted, the small pipeline would
not have been hit instead of 40 to 50 feet high towers and
purification and compressor plants."

Replying to a question about the closure of Sui gas plant, he said
that the act could be part of a planning made one year ago to launch
an operation. "Now the plant has been shut down and preparations of
the operation are under way," he added.

Bugti said that all the preparations had been made to launch a
military operation in Dera Bugti, which may start in a day. "About
3,000 Army men, 12 guns, six helicopter gunships have landed at Sibi

The FC with its strength of 7,000 personnel is already present in
the area of Bugtis. Seven hundred and fifty personnel of the DSG are
also deployed in Sui. Therefore, we are already under siege," he

Tribesmen kidnap 10 Pakistani utility workers

12 January 2005

KARACHI, Pakistan - Kidnappers snatched 10 employees of Pakistan’s main water and power utility near a key gas-producing region where up to 18 people have been killed in tribal violence since last week, officials said on Wednesday.

The employees of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) were abducted late on Tuesday in Rajanpur, an area of central Pakistan on the border between Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, WAPDA chairman Tariq Hameed told Reuters.

The employees were abducted by two armed men while heading to survey an area for construction of an irrigation canal, said company spokeswoman Mobashrah Bajwa.

The abductions took place about 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Sui, scene of several clashes since last Friday between security forces and Baluch tribesmen seeking greater autonomy in which as many as 18 people have died.

Sui, about 400 km (250 miles) north of Karachi, produces about 1 billion cubic feet (28 million cubic metres) of gas per day, or about 45 percent of Pakistan’s total production. Supplies to industry have been disrupted by the clashes.

The recent surge in violence prompted President Pervez Musharraf to warned tribesmen in a television interview aired late on Tuesday to stop fighting or “they will not know what hit them”.

Gunmen from the Marri tribe stormed facilities operated by state-run Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (PPL) PPL.KA in Sui on Tuesday, overpowering guards and damaging pipelines and a purification plant before they were driven off.

Military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said three paramilitary soldiers were killed and five wounded along with two civilians, including a child. As many as 10 tribesmen died.

Officials had said the plant’s compressor and several pipelines had caught fire in the fighting.


The tribesmen, who have long been fighting for more jobs, development funds and royalty payments from the gas fields, launched their offensive last Friday with intensive rocket attacks that forced many residents and PPL workers to flee.

They have frequently attacked PPL facilities in the past, but the recent attacks have been notable for their intensity.

Officials said gas supplies to many industrial users had been suspended, particularly to power producers and fertiliser plants, to ensure smooth supplies to household consumers.

A spokesman for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd SUIN.KA said the company was facing a shortfall of 450 million cubic feet of gas per day out of its total consumption of 1,600 million.

Analysts said the unrest reflected on Pakistan’s efforts to win foreign investment for its energy sector and its guarantees of security for a proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India that would have to run through Baluchistan.

A PPL spokesman said it could two or three days to assess damage to a pipe in the purification plant and to carrY out repair work.

Officials said Pakistan’s oil demand could increase if gas supplies were suspended for a long period because power firms had the option to run their plants on furnace oil.

PPL shares shares ended down 3.50 rupees at 140.50 rupees.

Govt mulls military action in Balochistan: Sherpao

* Interior minister says damaged purification plant could take 3
months to repair
* Gas to many parts of the country could be suspended
* 70% of population in two colonies near Sui has fled

By Shehzad Malik

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said on Wednesday the
federal government would take necessary punitive action, including
military action, against the renegade tribesmen who attacked gas
plants at Sui in Balochistan.

The Balochistan government has been asked to review the situation
and recommend to the federal government the action required to
normalise the situation in the province, Sherpao said at a press
conference. He said three officials of the Frontier Constabulary and
four civilians had been killed and nine injured in shooting between
security personnel and miscreants. He did not say how many tribesmen
had been killed or injured.

Sherpao said that a purification plant at Sui had been damaged by
firing from the miscreants over the last five days. The minister
said it could take three months to repairs the plant, which could
mean gas load-shedding in many parts of the country. The
purification plant was shut down after it started leaking poisonous
gas. He said the Sui plant supplied 22 percent of Pakistan's gas.

Sherpao said security agencies had seized 14,000 bullets, 425 rocket
launchers and 60 multi-barrel guns which were fired from a Bugti
colony and a Muhammadi colony near Sui. The two colonies housed more
than 25,000 inhabitants and almost 70 percent had now migrated, he
said. He said that the miscreants had occupied towers 10 and 11 of
the Sui plant, which were later reoccupied by Frontier Constabulary
soldiers after a shootout.

Sherpao said the parliamentary committee on Balochistan would
present its recommendations to the federal government very soon.
Committee members had met Baloch leaders and asked them to suggest
solutions to the problems of the province. He said the government
did not want to ruin the current dialogue with tribal elders and
other Baloch leaders.

Troops and gunships sent to Sui
QUETTA: More than 2,500 paramilitary forces and regular troops took
control of Sui after tribesmen fired hundreds of rockets, blowing up
a gas pipeline and triggering a battle that left eight people dead,
officials said on Wednesday.

Authorities also shut the gas plant, saying gas was suspended to
five industrial units because of the damage caused to a pipeline.
They hoped that the supplies would be restored within the next 24
hours. Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan said troops
and also helicopter gunships were being deployed in Sui.

"Our gas installations have national importance, and we are
deploying troops in Sui to protect our facilities and the staff
working there," he said. However, he refused to elaborate on how
many troops had been sent there, although another official said
about 1,000 soldiers and "some helicopter gunships" had reached Sui,
and more were on their way to the area. The official, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, would not say whether any army operation was
being considered against the attackers. "Such details can't be
shared with the media, but the troops are going to Sui to restore
the writ of the government," he said.

The soldiers were dispatched to control the situation on Tuesday
after armed tribesmen stormed the gas plant in Sui, 350 kilometres
southeast of Quetta, and "started damaging it", said senior
government official Abdul Samad Lasi. agencies


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