Pakistani forces kill 30 separatists in Baluchistan: official

By Gul Yousufzai QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani security forces killed 30 separatist militants on Monday in an offensive in Baluchistan, a senior official said, in one of the biggest clashes in months in the gas-rich province. Separatist insurgents fighting for independence accuse the government of exploiting the gas and mineral reserves of the southwestern province but neglecting the poverty of its people. The separatists often attack natural gas facilities such as pipelines as well as infrastructure and security-force posts. Provincial interior minister Sarfraz Bugti said security forces seized a large quantity of weapons during the raids. Ten members of a government paramilitary force were wounded in the fighting, Bugti said. Rebel spokesman were not immediately available for comment. The low-level separatist insurgency in Baluchistan is one of the chronic security problems undermining stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan. Pakistan accuses old rival India of secretly supporting the separatists. India denies any meddling. (Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Robert Birsel)