June 12, 2006

Three killed, 11 hurt, in Pakistani blast

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - A bomb exploded on a road in
the Pakistani town of Quetta on Monday, killing three people
and wounding 11, police said.

"The explosion went off near a hotel. At the moment, we
have received three bodies and 11 injured," senior Quetta
police official Zahid Afaq told Reuters.

"The numbers of casualties could be high as injured are
being brought to hospitals," said Afaq, who declined to
speculate on who might be responsible for the bomb.

Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan, Pakistan's biggest
but poorest province, where autonomy-seeking militants are
battling the government for greater control of gas resources.

Another senior provincial policeman, Ghulam Mohammad Dogar,
said the blast was caused by a bomb planted on a bicycle. He
said he believed militants from the nationalist Baluch
Liberation Army were responsible.

Baluch militants say the people of Baluchistan receive
little benefit from its natural gas. Baluchistan is Pakistan's
main natural gas source.

The rebels have frequently attacked gas facilities, blowing
up pipelines, as well as security checkpoints and other
government targets.

Quetta has also seen sectarian violence between militants
from the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam.

The Baluch nationalist rebels have no links to al Qaeda-
and Taliban-linked fighters based on the border with
Afghanistan, security officials say.