Security: Cell phone services in Balochistan suspended on Pakistan Day

Published: March 23, 2012

Officials say suspension effort to keep check on militants, PPP MNA denies security is the reason behind it.

ISLAMBAD: The government shut down cell phone services in Balochistan on Pakistan Day, an action that some officials claimed was taken to keep a check on militants in the province.

“Cellular services were suspended from 8am to 12am in Balochistan in an order to implement national security policy,” said Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Mohammad Yasin.

The Ministry of Information Technology on the directions of Interior Minister Rehman Malik asked PTA to cut off mobile services, added officials.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Ayatullah Durrani denied that the shutdown was due to security reasons. “The government blocked cellular services for replacing the old system with new communication transfer.”

“PTA has been directed to replace the system as soon as possible,” he said.

Officials from the Interior Ministry were tight lipped over the issue and said that they did not know about the suspension of cellular services in the province. Interior Secretary Saddiq-e-Akbar also did not respond to queries regarding the situation.

Officials associated with the Governor House in Balochistan said that the Home Department had requested the Ministry of Interior to curb militant activities in the province on Pakistan Day. “It could be a fruitful exercise to stop militants from fulfilling their evil designs by stopping cell phones on Pakistan Day,” observed a senior official associated with the Governor House.

Public Relations Officer to Governor Balochistan Javed Ahmed confirmed to The Express Tribune that cellular services had been suspended in the province on the directions of the government.

Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) leader Agha Shahid Khan Bugti told The Express Tribune that he had been trying to contact his family but to no avail. “I could not greet Pakistan Day to my family members,” he said.

“I can contact anyone in the world, but could not talk to any person in Balochistan. The step is against the will of Pakistan’s founders who carved out an independent state where rule of law would reign supreme,” observed Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) Senator Rubina Irfan. She said she had tried to contact family members before leaving Islamabad for Karachi, but was unable to.

Officials associated with the office of Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and Home Secretary Naseebullah Khan said that locals had visited their offices despite an official holiday to record their protest over the development.

Celebrations in the province

Pakistan Army and the Frontier Corps held different functions, including sports events in Quetta, Gwadar, Loralai, Khuzdar, Chaman, Pasni, Kech and other townships.

The chief minister inaugurated a festival arranged by the FC at Nawab Noroz Khan Stadium and hoisted the Pakistan flag.

People set up their stalls displaying traditional musical instruments, cloths, caps and shoes.

Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Aslam Bhootani and Provincial Minister Ali Madad Jatak led separate peace walks from the provincial assembly and Saryab Road to Ayub Stadium where a festival was under way.

With additional reporting by Shehzad Baloch

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Reader Comments (14)

  • jerseybb
    Mar 23, 2012 - 8:23PM

    I am having a difficult time understanding why is it a news?

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  • Yaida
    Mar 23, 2012 - 8:27PM

    Why? Isn’t Balochistan a part of Pakistan? I don’t get it !

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  • zeeshan khan
    Mar 23, 2012 - 8:29PM

    It’s a necessity to prevent acts of terrorism.mobile services were blocked in karachi also recently to prevent attacks on a religious procession.It’s far more important to save lives and prevent the destruction of families in terrorist attacks.
    There have been multiple terrorist attacks on any historical day celebrating pakistan in any way.The govt. has a duty to protect the public and take the necessary measures to do so.

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  • kid
    Mar 23, 2012 - 9:39PM

    that means balochistan is full of terrorists? of something more than that?

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  • Zeta
    Mar 23, 2012 - 10:00PM

    You keep this as main headline story over Pakistan Day story?
    We all know that what the security situation is there like. why crocodile eye brow raise

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  • pakistani
    Mar 23, 2012 - 10:14PM

    ET clarify it that is this a news item or the same traditional Pakistan bashing that your editors love to?

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  • Dmkhan
    Mar 23, 2012 - 10:41PM

    In recent past, banning/suspending cell phone service in sensitive area had a good results. So beside other measures in this respect, its necessary to avoid terror attacks,

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  • Mar 23, 2012 - 11:14PM

    ET made an issue of technology transformation,

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  • Zaheer Baloch
    Mar 23, 2012 - 11:51PM

    This is a very sad event, i don’t know why such steps are taken on 14th of august or on 23rd of march ? Why terrorists are active on these days ??

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  • Arslan
    Mar 24, 2012 - 12:54AM

    i strongly feel it was a technology transfer and the holiday is the best option to do the job without much bothering ppl;;;plus ppl quoted above for being unable to call their family members may had called on line nos;;;

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  • Penny Lane
    Mar 24, 2012 - 1:40AM

    If its so important to prevent ‘terrorism’ why only Balochistan? What about the issues that happened in Karachi?
    I am sick and tired of Balochistan being treated in such a pathetic way

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  • Hasan
    Mar 24, 2012 - 1:51AM

    It was for only four hours in the morning and why making it a controversy. In Balochistan all services are fine and well right now and they were suspended only in some parts only for four hours. If it was the other case then it would be suspended for the whole day but it was only for four hours. So what is a big deal then???

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  • Zaid baloch
    Mar 24, 2012 - 3:13AM

    I am very disappointed by these kind of activities. Why Gov don’t hang these terrerists and let us live in peace.

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  • Basit
    Mar 24, 2012 - 3:19AM

    Then liberals wonder why we question their motives when they promote such stories in their controlled newspapers.

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