Govt temporarily restores cellular services in Karachi, Quetta
KARACHI: The government at midnight Friday has temporarily restored cell phone services in several parts of the country mainly in Karachi and Quetta before it will be suspended back again at six on Saturday morning, DawnNews reported.
The services were suspended on Friday from 1 pm on interior minister’s directives amid terrorism threats during Muslim holy month of Muharram as its pinnacle, the Ashura draws closer.
Earlier on Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in Islamabad that the suspension will resume at 6 am on Saturday and will run through the day, and the 10th day of Muharram, the Ashura, to “ensure security during and after the Muharram processions.”
Militants in Pakistan often detonate bombs using cell phones and the government has implemented similar service suspensions in the past, but not on such a wide scale.
Malik said 90 per cent of the bombs set off by militants in Pakistan have been detonated using cell phones.
“We have shut our service in Karachi and Quetta on the instructions of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority from 1:00 pm to midnight,” said an official at Mobilink, the country’s largest mobile phone service provider.
Cellular services were also suspended in Sector G-9 of the federal capital Islamabad between 3pm to 6 pm on Friday.
The federal interior minister further said that the suspension included the blockage of wireless phone services and that instructions were issued for the removal of all garbage collection sites from Karachi.
An official at PTCL, which runs the only landline and wireless phone services in Pakistan, said wireless phones had also been turned off at the government’s instructions.
It is the second time Pakistan has shut down mobile networks during this month of Muharram due to security concerns.