Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pakistan or BAAKISTAN


Rockets fired as Musharraf visits Pak town

Posted online: Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 0408 hours IST
Updated: Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 1037 hours IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Quetta, Pakistan; December 15: Suspected separatist militants in Pakistan fired eight rockets at a paramilitary base in a troubled southwestern province on Wednesday as President Pervez Musharraf was visiting a nearby town, police said.

No one was hurt in the attack on the Frontier Corps base on the outskirts of Kohlu in Baluchistan province, they said.

A man who identified himself as Mirak Baluch and said he was a spokesman for the Baluch Liberation Army (BLA), telephoned a press club in Quetta, the provincial capital, and said his group was responsible for the attack and would launch more.

"We fired the rockets," a journalist at the press club quoted Baluch as saying.

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"We Baluchis are being treated like slaves. We are at war with the general and we will continue such attacks," he quoted the caller as saying, referring to Musharraf.

Musharraf's spokesman was not available for comment but Kohlu police official Mohammad Qasim said the president was in the town addressing tribal leaders when the rockets were fired.

Nationalists in the resource-rich but restless province demand more control over natural gas and minerals, which, they say, bring few benefits to its people.

The BLA is seeking a separate state.

Militants often launch small attacks on gas, electricity and transport infrastructure in the province, as well as on security force posts but casualties are rare.

Musharraf has been visiting Baluchistan since Tuesday to seek support for a controversial dam on the Indus river in Punjab province.

"Saboteurs and anti-development elements cannot deter the process of socio-economic progress," the state-run APP news agency quoted Musharraf as telling the tribal leaders on Wednesday.

"We are not deterred ... and will continue to steer the country on the path of socio-economic development," he said.

He later laid a foundation stone for a military garrison in the town.

Many people in Baluchistan and elsewhere oppose construction of the Kalabagh dam, which they fear will disrupt water supplies downstream.

Speaking in Quetta on Tuesday, Musharraf called for support for the construction of dams which he said were necessary to support the country's growth.

He said Pakistan would not be held hostage by "terrorists and extremists" trying to dictate their will by "petty" sabotage, newspapers reported.


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