Eid security: Mobile phone services suspended in parts of Pakistan

Published: August 19, 2012

Interior ministry alerts cellphone companies that it may ask them to cut off communication immediately. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Cellular and data services were blocked in some parts of the country, including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Multan, Express News reported on Sunday.

A letter issued to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority by the Ministry of Interior, directed cellular service providers to block services from 12:00 am tonight to Monday 11:00am.

However, speaking to the media Sunday night, Ministry of Interior Rehman Malik said that cellular services will be blocked till Monday 10:00 am, adding that this step had been taken to prevent terrorist attacks.

He added that terrorists usually used mobile phones to detonate explosive devices.

Malik clarified that cellular services had been resumed in Islamabad since he had ensured tight security in the capital, but would block services there too if there were reports of threats in the city.

According to reports on social media, Mobilink, Warid, Telenor, Ufone and Zong have blocked services.

Earlier, in an attempt to ensure security during the celebrations of Eidul Fitr,  cellular service providers in Pakistan had been told by the Ministry of Interior that they may be asked to immediately stop services in certain areas of the country between August 19 to August 20.

According to a letter issued by the ministry’s National Crisis Management Cell to the CEOs of the companies, the authority aimed to cut off communication capabilities of miscreants and terrorists to foil their plans.

The companies have been alerted beforehand so that action can be taken promptly, the letter stated.

Earlier, the Government of Balochistan had blocked cell phone services in Quetta and its surrounding areas on Independence Day in light of the security situation in the province.

The US embassy in Islamabad had also issued a notice to its citizens in the country to be careful during Eidul Fitr as it senses potential attacks from militant and sectarian groups present in the country.

Reader Comments (79)

  • Nasir Mahmood
    Aug 19, 2012 - 5:55PM

    Unwise decision by imprudent people.

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  • J Effendi
    Aug 19, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Thanks for the advance warning, now the terrorists and miscreants will use other means of communication.

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  • Aug 19, 2012 - 6:00PM

    Yes, it should be because mobile services are main arm of such activities.Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 19, 2012 - 6:05PM

    The peace loving subscribers cell phones are standing behind the Government of Pakistan.

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  • Rameez
    Aug 19, 2012 - 6:46PM

    Instead of taking the proper measures they are just making the nation fool,..!!

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  • Un-Happy
    Aug 19, 2012 - 6:58PM

    oh its harsh and unwise but good decesion to save lives

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  • mr. righty rightist
    Aug 19, 2012 - 6:58PM

    Good.

    There will be lesser Propaganda SMSs in India.

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  • Shah
    Aug 19, 2012 - 7:00PM

    @J Effendi:

    yeah and how..my sending birds…

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  • Shah
    Aug 19, 2012 - 7:00PM

    @Rameez:

    yeah why dont you give a matter idea….what should they do catch as many as they can till CJ releases them again…

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  • Zaikam
    Aug 19, 2012 - 7:14PM

    If government decides so then be it. We are behind our government on this!

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  • dr aslam m.
    Aug 19, 2012 - 7:54PM

    Hearing this news militants must be laughing. Our stupid army is good for nothing. Collaborating with americans to bomb their own country men in tribal areas is the best we can expect from them.

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  • Xtreme
    Aug 19, 2012 - 7:55PM

    @ J Effendi
    What is portable and safer than a mobile phone?

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  • gplus
    Aug 19, 2012 - 8:00PM

    i am living near airport and it seems they cut off all warid RBS systems
    i have no signalsz…

    GpRecommend

  • Adnan
    Aug 19, 2012 - 8:14PM

    My services are down already

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  • Waqas
    Aug 19, 2012 - 8:25PM

    hmm moving closer and closer to become talibanistan or even “better” Somalia-stanRecommend

  • J Effendi
    Aug 19, 2012 - 8:43PM

    @Xtreme:
    now I dont want to say it for security reasons.

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  • maz3tt
    Aug 19, 2012 - 8:50PM

    don’t worry the govt will soon see their step as very foolish and full of stupidity and will bring it back online.

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  • Ahad
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:12PM

    cant the terrorist use whtsapp, skype or other internet based messenger and why havent ptcl land lines been blocked ?

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  • duplessis and complexity
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:21PM

    ban satellite phones

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  • The Truth
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:22PM

    Whats sad is that its absolutely necessary. Security has deteriorated to this point. Necessary, however does not make it right. Perhaps some day the good people of Pakistan will realize that religious extremists are not our friends, just because they fight American and Indians and we don’t like Americans and Indians, given the chance they will kill you men of shaving your beard and you women for going to school. This is not some theory that I concocted, we’ve seen them do it when then get power. Wake up Pakistan!

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  • Sarmad
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:26PM

    After Power and Gas Loadshedding, its time for Mobile Load shedding as well. Recommend

  • Pakistan One
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:27PM

    I just subscribed 10000 sms package and now I cant send even a single message. :-(

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  • wahab
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:28PM

    whatever is needed to save lives should be done!

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  • Aug 19, 2012 - 9:31PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui: The peace loving subscribers cell phones are standing behind the Government of Pakistan.
    I hope you were not smiling while writing that line :)

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  • Justice
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:32PM

    If you need to suspend cellular service – first take cabinet in to confidence and then call party meeting to specify areas and they convince local population of the need.Recommend

  • Aug 19, 2012 - 9:36PM

    Great, now terrorists will have to be content with using landlines instead…Recommend

  • Indian Catholic
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:39PM

    @Ahad: cant the terrorist use whtsapp, skype or other internet based messenger and why havent ptcl land lines been blocked ?
    .
    It appears that the government is worried of an IED (bomb) being triggered by a cellphone call.
    .
    That would also explain why land lines and internet have not been blocked.

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  • Aug 19, 2012 - 9:51PM

    I read somewhere that the Egyptian revolution didn’t really take off until the government shut down internet access for most of the country. After that, people took to the streets to find out what was going on… and that helped grow crowds in Tahrir Square and other places throughout the country.

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  • True Voice of Pakistan
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:51PM

    At this moment, its a nice decision, however, for future, it needs better long term strategy instead of using these tactics…

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  • Adeel
    Aug 19, 2012 - 9:53PM

    cant terrorists use landline phones instead?

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  • DevilHunterX
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:03PM

    They can use Pakistan postal service….. hahaha!

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  • Positive Pakistani
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:04PM

    oooo bhaii…. but it is not 12:00am yet….why now?????? …???

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  • Sharjeel Jawaid
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:05PM

    Have you heard of the monkey, who chopped off his master’s nose to prevent landing of a fly on it!

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  • Ravi
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:06PM

    May the choicest blessing of Allah fill your life with peace , joy and prosperity.
    EID MUBARAK.

    especially for Mirza whose comments i always fill +vely spirited.
    GOD BLESS U ALL.

    Regular tribune leader

    Ravi Nagare
    Nashik,Maharastra ,IndiaRecommend

  • arf
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:11PM

    seriously !!!

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:13PM

    Terrorist mostly use satellite phones so no use. If certain people are involved in suspicious activities they should track these people down not banning the service altogether. Next they will ban Internet with the same excuse.

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  • dalwala
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:17PM

    First load shedding, now cell shedding and then for sure comes (dal shedding)!!! Wake up Pakistan…wake up!!! If we let them take away our communications tomorrow they will take away our beloved dal!!!Wake up my fellow dal eaters/lovers!!!

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  • baker
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:18PM

    @Howtozed:
    W H A T !!!!!!

    ITS EID, this childish govt act only shows how desperate we are to inform the people they are trying to do something, while really doing nothing.

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  • Magnanimity
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:24PM

    Stupid Decision by NRO-PPP government .

    This incompetent Government has taken away every happiness from the people of Pakistan.

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  • Abdul Rauf
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:31PM

    I think the Government will soon ban the internet and land-line tooRecommend

  • tariq
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:33PM

    Well at last mobile load shedding is here….

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  • abdullah khan
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:36PM

    After the roll back of Taliban project there will be hard core elements which will attacks on its own handler. I expect more destruction in near future. The Pakistan street walker are (people of Pakistan)advised don’t comes out to street and protect our self before the departure of US+NATO forcesRecommend

  • Aug 19, 2012 - 10:37PM

    All the terrorists have access to satellite phones or no phones in general as most are suicide attacks, hence they know their targets. The common man suffers from this.

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  • Ahmed
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:52PM

    Get ready For Network Load Shedding Now …… :D
    Ths Is Only the Trailer ….. :P :D

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  • Usman
    Aug 19, 2012 - 10:56PM

    @dr aslam m.: Sir our Army is not stupid rather we are stupid. We do not pay taxes, electricity and gad bills, we steal electricity, we take money from banks and then do not pat it back. Recommend

  • sick of this nonsense
    Aug 19, 2012 - 11:02PM

    even if one terrorist activity is disrupted because of this ban I say its a job well done.

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  • Umar Rana
    Aug 19, 2012 - 11:09PM

    imagine someone trying to call 15 or 1192 or any other service if in truble.

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  • Salman
    Aug 19, 2012 - 11:17PM

    Mobile sms are used as timers in bombs. Not a bad decision when terror alert is high.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Aug 19, 2012 - 11:43PM

    What else terrorists want? They have successfully blocked our communication lines. For other acts, they have unlimited resources, time and support.

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  • dr aslam m.
    Aug 19, 2012 - 11:57PM

    My dear Pakistani brothers be prepared our jihadi brothers will make pakistan a truely Islamic country a and everyone in this country will be ruled with sharia laws. This army of ours thinks by stopping communicatoon lines they can stop Allah’s followers from following sharis. They are wrong and will have to bow down before these holy warriors of Islam.

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  • Aug 19, 2012 - 11:59PM

    Why Mobile networks are blocked in Karachi as well as in many cities.
    My Request:

    Our Government I think They Have Less Knowledge , they don’t think about peoples.
    Atms Are not Working
    My EasyPaisa Transactions are still on Hold i do shopping from coming money..
    I am Unable To Login My Facebook , Gmail & Other Sites Because They all need Mobile Verification And In My Area There is zero Signal.
    Many Peoples are worried Why signals are not comming.
    Many buisness transactions are still on hold because of no mobile network coverage, If some Accident take place where no One Then What will man do, if some one have no ptcl commcation & in home some Emergency will Happen What will People Do , Emergency will be any health Problem Like Heart Attack .e.t.c Our Government i think don’t think about peoples who pay millions of taxes by purchasing Thing From Market or by recharging mobile cards , Taliban are too much educated they use many extras ways , i will tell you one of them , They use Ptcl Evo Usb to communicate with others via skype and any email ,social network , They are now more advance they also use satellite communication too..
    and in Karachi police captured peoples who are going to shopping on bike And Make a challan from them and in that case those 2 bikes who are innocent don’t know about that double sawari is banned or not and have less money so they called whom to come and pay challan to Police Officers , What our Government is doing , Our Government is still teasing peoples of Pakistanis, My Question For Government is What you want from us , Shall we die , What????
    please Open Mobile Networks All So I Get Easy Paisa And Start Doing Shopping & please Upload money to Atms So i withdraw Money From Atm To do my Eid hopping.

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  • Abdullah
    Aug 20, 2012 - 12:15AM

    I think young generation and cellular companies have to sacrifice some days for security of other people. we should not be that much selfish that for one day we can live without sms or facebook. we have to bear this burden and help government make our places safe.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Aug 20, 2012 - 12:21AM

    @Salman. For explosion, a terrorists needs a bomb, a timer and a sim. Instead of making it hard for a terrorist to get bombs and timers, this government is doing an easy job..

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  • Moolchand Kolhi
    Aug 20, 2012 - 12:36AM

    That’s Good.
    But way not blocked in Islamabad……..?

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  • ALI
    Aug 20, 2012 - 12:38AM

    I think terrorists are most likely to use walkie talkies and sat phones. It kinda sucks with the cell phone lines down, but where there’s a will there’s a way. Our Government really needs to pick up the slack and do something good for the nation at least this one time.

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  • Analyzer
    Aug 20, 2012 - 12:45AM

    With the number of illegal sims in the market the Government has no choice but to resort to such measures. Since telecom companies can’t do their job of sim verification properly, such decisions are necessary. Should have been done much sooner, especially for Karachi.Recommend

  • Saad
    Aug 20, 2012 - 12:52AM

    government takes away each and everything when we truly need it. In blazing summer there is no light, in cold winter there is no gas, during sehri or iftari there is no light and now on eid there is no cellphone service! We have a lovely Government!

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  • SulkingOnEid
    Aug 20, 2012 - 12:53AM

    @Usman: Speak for yourself mate. I pay taxes, I pay utility bills and I certainly do not steal from the banks. Neither do any of the people around me do. Army and all other security agencies are paid for protecting the nation. Not for roaming around in bullet proof cars followed by a motorcade of the most expensive cars under the sun. Today I got mugged, by two people riding a motorcycle. And guess what, I couldn’t borrow the next person’s mobile phone to report the crime as there was no phone reception! Had to go to a PCO to do so. What if the looters had shot me in the gut? Crawling to get to a PCO because nobody around me was able to make a phone call. How grand would that have been. It’s about time this ‘valiant’ army and the government start taking concrete steps to curb terrorism, rather than creating more nuisances for this poor country. Just saying.Recommend

  • Haris Ashraf
    Aug 20, 2012 - 1:03AM

    This decision may sound bitter to our nation.. But if we think for even 1 minute, you guys might find a few positives from it.

    *CLARIFICATION: Terrorists do not intend to communicate through cell phones, instead they use cell phones as timers to detonate bombs. In other words: “GSM Based Controllers”

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  • dalwala
    Aug 20, 2012 - 1:19AM

    I say invite Taliban for a dal party !!!

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  • rashid
    Aug 20, 2012 - 1:22AM

    its like restrict bikers to sit alone, which cant stop terrarist activities. Foolish and childish act.

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  • Aug 20, 2012 - 1:30AM

    Stop criticizing our government on this issue atleast..It’s for our own safety and I think they took right decision..
    @J Effendi: Do you really think that terrorists will just invent some technology in few hours ?
    Cmon bro m sure they make such plans months ago…M sure they just cant change their plans in such a short notice..
    Good move by Rehman Malik! I’m with you..

    A few hours without mobile network won’t make any difference to my life..However any horrifying act of terrorists can make some one’s life miserable..

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  • Aug 20, 2012 - 1:33AM

    PS: People can easily use emergency call services..So it’s really not an issue..

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  • Pakistani
    Aug 20, 2012 - 1:46AM

    EID GIFT “Eidi” from Zardari & co to Pakistani’s …. :)

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  • Adnan
    Aug 20, 2012 - 1:55AM

    What if I’m on the road and get hit by a bus and bystanders need to call an ambulance? I doubt there’ll be a landline phone on the road?!

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  • AIN
    Aug 20, 2012 - 2:18AM

    @Sarmad:
    True………quality comment bro

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  • erudite
    Aug 20, 2012 - 2:36AM

    fire of extremism spreads more.. wake up please, or one day no latter we all will live in stone age without cell phones, schools, shopping malls ……. point to ponder

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  • fathe ali
    Aug 20, 2012 - 2:45AM

    As an islamic country why do we need mobile. Sharia is what we require. Our holy warriors are been stopped to blow up innocent people in the markets so that they wont implement sharia for the whole country…lol

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  • PAKISTAN SE ZINDA BHAG
    Aug 20, 2012 - 2:49AM

    The current regime of Pakistan is worse than any previous regimes that i have seen in my lifetime. These crooks have enslaved the whole population making them pay extortion money in the name of the government. They do not stop thieving when we sleep, they print money the whole night and when you wake up in the morning suddenly your money has lost its worth by some percent.

    Block all roads, Close all shops, shutdown whole education system and bury your self in the ground is the message of this current regime.

    This regime should ban food too because criminals might eat it and commit crime.

    The country should be renamed to Sheepistan.

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  • Jawed Miandad
    Aug 20, 2012 - 2:52AM

    This is the true gift from Mr. Zardari !!!

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  • Anonomous
    Aug 20, 2012 - 2:57AM

    No electricity.
    No natural gas.
    No water.
    No mobiles.

    Mr Zardari ask your beloved son to have all of the above even for one hour of his life.

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  • Anonomous
    Aug 20, 2012 - 2:59AM

    Happy Blackout Mubarik.
    Corruption R US = current regime

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  • Sheikh Terry
    Aug 20, 2012 - 3:16AM

    Pakistan Govt. is really a fool govt. in the whole world they restricted bike ride on two persons in Pakistan at the occasion of Eid such a foolish action taken by the Govt. and the second thing they restricted mobile service also they even don’t know this is the modern era terrorist can use other social network to communicate with each other foolish Govt. Recommend

  • S. A
    Aug 20, 2012 - 9:02AM

    Link the dots. FBR. Interconnect charges. Internal mishaps in the bureaucracy. Cellular shutdown. Muscle flexing of technical ability and political linkages. Oh and commission.

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  • Shah
    Aug 20, 2012 - 12:57PM

    @Anonomous:

    and you laughed when USA said we will take you to stoneage….

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  • M.Ahmer Ali
    Aug 21, 2012 - 1:14PM

    Blocking the mobile services in Pakistan on recently Eid and as usual on every 10th of Muharram is only the camouflaging of the government’s weaknesses and demerits of controlling the terrorism and tracking the terrorists in Pakistan and by doing so the government only increases the problems and difficulties for the nation.And if this is the source of over coming and controlling the terrorism then why does it not happen in the other countries especially in India,Afghanistan,USA and Sri Lanka and why only in Pakistan??????

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  • MUHAMMAD ARIF
    Aug 21, 2012 - 3:26PM

    repected REHMAN MALIK SAHIB
    respected sir
    today i heard that ur ministry want to block all prepaid sim of mobiles.sir do it as soon as possible becoz its root cause of different crimes sir plz……. do it in ur first prefence im sure it will break the back bone of terriosts ,
    thnkks

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  • Khalid
    Aug 22, 2012 - 2:07AM

    it is high time that all pre paid sims should be blocked and converted to post paid after authentication

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  • rehan malik
    Oct 3, 2012 - 6:27PM

    What about the FAMILIES seperated and now we have no way of seeing or hearing from our loved ones to make sure they are okay? Allahu Akbar….
    may Allah (swt) bless everyone and keep protecting us all, and those of us this suffering from this choice of our country.

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