KARACHI: Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced on Friday that cellular services will be barred in provincial capitals Karachi and Quetta, today, from 1pm till midnight, Express News reported. Additionally, he said PTCL’s wireless service will also be suspended.
Speaking to the media, Malik said that suspension of services in other parts of the country was being considered and will be announced soon through a press release.
Cellular suspension on 9th and 10th of Muharram
Mobile services have been blocked in Islamabad Sector G.
Advisor to the Home Ministry Sharfuddin Memon while talking to The Express Tribune said that the administration had not yet received a notification regarding barring cellular services on 9th and 10th of Muharram.
Express News reported that the provincial government has requested the federal government to block cellular service in five cities on Ashura.
Although, it has been, in principle, decided that the services will be barred across the areas declared sensitive in the province, the interior ministry was still deliberating over the matter, an official of the interior ministry privy to the matter told The Express Tribune.
The official said that the decision will be taken in a meeting chaired by Malik, which will be attended by Interior ministerial secretaries and officials of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
He said that in the meeting, recommendations from provinces and intelligence reports will be discussed, after which, the interior ministry will send directives to the PTA and further telcos will be communicated regarding the matter.
Express News reported that the provincial government has requested the federal government to block cellular service in eight cities on Ashura.
The Balochistan Government has decided that cellular services will be barred across eight districts, including Quetta, which were declared sensitive by the interior ministry.
According to Balochistan’s Home Secretary Akbar Durrani, the Balochistan Government has forwarded a request in this regard to the PTA. He said that the areas in which the mobile phone services will be suspended include Quetta, Bolan, Naseerabad, Loralai and Zhob among others.
He added that a decision to ban motorcycle riding was not yet taken, however, a ban on pillion riding will be imposed.
The province’s Home Department said that no such decision was taken.
Speaking to Express News, K-P’s Home Secretary Azam Khan said that the administration had not received any recommendations for barring cellular services. However, he said, that security will be beefed up across the province.
Malik had said on Thursday that a strategy was being devised for suspending cellular services.
The Government of Sindh has also announced a three-day public holiday on 8, 9 and 10 of Muharram.
All educational and government institutions in Sindh will remain closed on all three days.