GHOTKI - At least two persons were killed and two others sustained severe injuries when a gas pipeline exploded here in the wee hours of Wednesday.

Police said that a 36-inch diameter gas pipeline from Qadirpur Gas Field caught fire after a huge explosion near Mir Kosha of Ghotki.

Due to the blast and blaze, two persons stated to be guards were killed while two others sustained severe injuries. The injured were shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment. The bodies were handed over to the heirs after completing medico-legal formalities.

Police confirmed that the incident was not an act of terrorism and occurred due to leakage of gas. A police official said that the pipeline was carrying natural gas to Qadirpur Gas Field of Punjab from Mirkosh village of Ghotki. He confirmed the death toll in the explosion and said that further investigation into the incident in underway.

As a result of the explosion, the Guddu-Kashmore highway was closed for traffic near the road linking Punjab and Sindh. The explosion and heavy traffic-jam caused a situation of panic in the area. Being informed, police and rescue teams rushed to the site and managed to take the situation under control. The incident resulted in suspension of 500 million cubic feet gas in system as supply from Qadirpur Gas Field was closed.  Gas supply was suspended to different areas of Punjab and Sindh after the explosion. Official sources said that gas supply to power plants in Faisalabad and Kabirwala was also suspended after the incident.

However, the fire fighters successfully managed to extinguish the blaze after a struggle of several hours.

About a week ago, an explosion took place in Rahim Yar Khan, suspending gas supplies to different cities of the country. Most of the cities remained without gas at least for two days. Millions of people were unable to heat their homes or run their factories, as the gas supply remained suspended due to the explosion.