Lahore: Three crucial pipelines supplying natural gas to northeast Pakistan were blown up by the banned Baloch Republican Army leading to a severe shortage in Punjab province and death of one woman, officials said today.

Supply of natural gas to industrial units in most parts of Punjab was suspended last night after blasts in three pipelines near Yousafabad, some 30km from Rahim Yar Khan.

Describing the explosions as an act of terrorism, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd Managing Director Arif Hameed said the gas left in the system was utterly insufficient to meet the demand of domestic consumers in the province.

He appealed to people to switch off their gas heaters and geysers to save the fuel for cooking.

He said supply to independent power plants in the province had also been suspended.

Initial reports say remote-controlled devices were used in the explosions which destroyed three out of the four pipelines within 30 minutes.

According to sources, the pipelines, carrying highly inflammable methane also called natural gas, burst into a massive ball of fire after the blasts.

A woman was killed in the blaze which engulfed a nearby locality.

Considering the massive scale of fire, the city administration declared emergency, under which hundreds of residents of many nearby small towns were evacuated as a safety measure.

The outlawed Baloch Republican Army (BRA) claimed responsibility for the explosions.

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