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News :: International
17 May 2006
By B.Raman

According to reports from reliable sources in Dera Ghazi Khan and Quetta, the Baloch freedom-fighters successfully launched a mortar attack on a Pakistani nuclear establishment controlled by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) on May 15,2006. The establishment is located in the vicinity of the Dera Ghazi Khan-Quetta highway. Earlier too, it was once the target of an unsuccessful attack by the Baloch freedom-fighters.

2. The mortar attack caused the outbreak of a large fire in the woods surrounding the establishment. Twenty fire engines took nearly 10 hours to bring the fire under control. It has been reported that the fire could be extinguished before it could spread to the establishment itself. Apart from destroying a large number of trees planted around the establishment, a cafeteria and other service buidings, the fire does not appear to have caused any other damage. The sensitive parts of the establishment were reportedly not affected.

3. The PAEC has not issued any official statement on the fire. In talks with the local media, unnamed PAEC officials have projected the fire as due to a short circuit. They have not admitted that it was caused by a mortar fire.

4. The Baloch freedom-fighters have repeatedly been trying to disrupt road and rail communications between Balochistan and Punjab. Dera Ghazi Khan has been a favourite scene of their operations in order to disrupt the normal economic life in Punjab. Since President Pervez Musharraf launched his military offensive in Balochistan last December to crush the freedom struggle, the deployment of para-military forces in and around Dera Ghazi Khan has been strengthened. Simlarly, there has been a strengthening of security measures around the nuclear establishment.

5.One of the main grievances of the Baloch freedom-fighters has been the holding of the nuclear tests of May,1998, in Chagai which, according to them, has caused severe public health hazards in Balochistan. They have also been complaining that the nuclear waste from Pakistan's nuclear establishments is being stored in Balochistan.

6. In the meanwhile, the recent ban by the Government on the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has not had any impact on its activities. It has managed to maintain the momentum of its freedom-struggle with almost daily attacks on gas pipelines, electricity transmission lines, railway lines and on posts of the security forces. It has even carried out a daring attack on a Police Academy killing six police officer trainees.

7. The BLA and other Baloch nationalist elements have also stepped up their campaign against the Chinese enginners and security officials posted in Gwadar in connection with the project for the construction of the Gwadar port. A team of Chinese engineers recently visited Balochistan amidst tight security to carry out a preliminary study on the possibility of the construction of a road linking Gwadar with the Karakoram Highway in the Northern Areas, which is being upgraded, and an oil/gas pipeline connecting Gwadar with Xinjiang. The idea is that the Chinese tankers bringing oil from Saudi Arabia and Iran would download them at Gwadar and from there the energy supplies would be moved by a pipeline to Xinjiang. This would reduce the Chinese dependence on the Malacca Straits for the transport of their energy supplies.

8. China has already agreed to help Pakistan in the construction of more nuclear power stations as a counter to the Indo-US nuclear deal, now under consideration by the US Congress. The number of new power stations being mentioned is eight. It is proposed to locate one of these in Balochistan. Gen.Musharraf is expected to visit Beijing next month for talks on this issue. If this visit materialises, this will be his second visit to China in less than a year.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: itschen36 (at) )
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19 May 2006
Good to see unbiased article about Pakistan published here written by Indian operative.

This indymedia outlet is the Leftyperson's Fox News. Fair(?) and Balance(?)