QUETTA - A main gas pipeline of 18-inch diameter was exploded in Naseerabad district, some 320 kilometres southeast of Quetta, in early hours of Sunday.

Police sources said unidentified miscreants had fitted explosives beneath an 18-inch diameter gas pipeline in Rabi area of Naseerabad which exploded with a big bang and destroyed a large portion of the pipeline.

As a result, gas supply from the damaged pipeline to Uch Power Plant was suspended. Owing to the damage of main gas pipeline supply to Uch Power Plant, around 525 megawatts shortfall has been inflicted to the national grid, increasing electricity shortfall in the country to 6000 megawatts.

Personnel of law-enforcement agencies rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. The engineers of the gas company also visited the site to assess the damage and began the repair work. Local administration registered a case and further investigation in this connection was under way.

The SSGC sources said that work had been started to repair the damaged pipeline but it would take another two days to be properly restored the gas supply through the targeted pipeline. QESCO officials say the Habibullah Coastal Power is also closed which was generating 150 megawatt electricity.

Incidents of blowing up gas pipelines have increased manifold in Balochistan as six gas pipelines were bommbed in Dera Bugti and Naseerabad during the last 10 days.