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Pakistan winter gas crunch threatens to chill economy, stoke unrest

Cash-strapped country looks for answers as leaks waste precious supplies

A man sells gas cylinders in Karachi in 2021: Pakistan faces a shortage of gas as winter approaches. (File photo by EPA/Jiji)

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan is hurtling toward a harsh winter, with citizens and industries bracing for a severe shortage of natural gas as dwindling forex reserves and sanctions on Russia and Iran limit its options.

The problem threatens to stoke further unrest in a country already rocked by political turmoil. On Sunday, protesters blocked the Quetta-Karachi highway near Mastung, in the southwestern province of Balochistan, over the suspension of gas supplies. Last week, demonstrators also blocked main roads inside Quetta, as the cold season begins to set in.

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