No Gas for 48 Hours for Most of Punjab; SNGPL

Three gas pipelines were blown up by militants in Balochistan and according to an official of a state-owned gas company this cut supplies of Gas to most of the Punjab. It was also added that this particular gas outage is expected to last for two more days. It was stated by the emergency manager on duty of the Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Limited in Islamabad Ayub Bajwa that the pipelines to the Punjab province were blown overnight by the rebels. Even though it is the most wealthy and populous province of the country and also the power base of the country’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, majority of Punjab is now without gas.

Mr. Bajwa said that this was the first time that all three pipelines had been blown up simultaneously by the rebels. Previously, they had maintained the practice of blowing up only one here and there. He further added that approximately two days are needed for repairing these pipelines because they are considerably large, about 16, 18 and 24 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, Arif Hameed, the managing director of SNGPL asserted that there wasn’t sufficient gas left in the system for fulfilling the demands of the domestic consumers in the Punjab.

He urged the people of the province to save their fuel for cooking purposes by turning off their geysers and gas heaters. He asserted that there had also been suspension of supply to the independent power plants that exist in the province. Late on Sunday, Mr. Hameed told Dawn that it was possible that the restoration of the pipelines required three days because heat was preventing everyone from going anywhere near the site of the blast. During the time construction is conducted, millions of Pakistanis would be unable to run their factories and heat their homes. Mr. Hameed also said that even though the supply of gas to the 24, 18 and 16 inch diameter pipelines had been suspended, it would still take time for the power to die down.

Moreover, some dwellings had also been burnt because of the blasts and the subsequent fire that resulted because of them. The police and the rescue teams 1122 that had reached the affected area reported that the explosions had caused the death of at least one woman. A spokesman of the banned Baloch Republican Army, Sarbaz Baloch said that the pipelines that were located near the Punjabi town of Rahim Yar Khan, which is 600 km south of Islamabad, had been blown up by his group. The government security forces and the Baloch militants have been accused by human rights groups of serious abuses of human rights including torturing, kidnapping and killing civilians.