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Members of All Balochistan Restaurant Association and Anjuman-e-Tajiran hold a protest demonstration against low gas pressure in Quetta, outside press club on Monday. - Online Photo

QUETTA: Protests were held in Quetta and other towns of Balochistan on Monday against unannounced gas loadshedding and low pressure in supply to these areas.

The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) is supplying gas to Quetta and eight other districts from 12am to 6am, with very low pressure.

Northern parts of the province are in the grip of severe cold for the past week and people badly need an uninterrupted supply of natural gas to keep their geyser on and warm themselves with gas-run heaters.

Protesters took to the streets despite a chilly day and blocked various roads. They raised slogans against the SSGC authorities and the government for their failure to supply gas in the winter season.

In Quetta, the protesters, among them women and children, gathered on the Sariab and Airport roads near Killi Alamo and blocked the roads linking the city with other parts of the province. They put barricades and burnt tyres.

The train service was also disrupted when the protesters stopped several passenger trains from leaving Quetta station for various cities of the country.

Traffic remained suspended in various parts of the city. The protesters pelted vehicles andgovernment buildings with stones, smashing windowpanes.

Despite repeated attempts by the administration and police the protesters refused to disperse, saying they would not end their protests till gas supply with full pressure was restored.

A protest demonstration was held in Sui, the town that has been supplying gas to the entire country for several decades.

'We are not getting gas supply despite living close to the Sui field,' Imam Bakhsh, a resident of the town, complained while talking to Dawn.

Protest demonstrations were also held in Nasirabad, Jaffarabad, Sibi, Bolan, Pishin, Ziarat, Mastung and Kalat districts.

Minimum temperature in Quetta was reported minus 11, and in Kalat and Ziarat minus 12.

The SSGC officials on their part said the supply situation in Quetta and other areas was part of the crisis being faced by the entire country.

An SSGC spokesman said that normal supply to all areas would be possible after completion of the repair work of a pipeline that was damaged four days ago in a terrorist attack.

CNG outlets in several areas are lying closed for the past four days, creating problems for commuters using rickshaws and other vehicles.