TTP threats to cell companies mar investment

Published: February 14, 2012
Cellular services demand protection against fresh threats in the backdrop of attacks on franchises. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Cellular services demand protection against fresh threats in the backdrop of attacks on franchises. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


Threats from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to major cellular service providers are putting at serious risk the prospects of substantial foreign direct investment, especially as the 3G licence auction looms.

Following a series of attacks on franchise offices, claimed by TTP, cellular companies operating in Pakistan have sought help from the government in ensuring safety of their establishments.

Four major operators in the country have taken the stance that these threats may derail the much-needed FDI in Pakistan’s economy by denting investor’s confidence.

Earlier, in December 2011, two franchise offices situated in Karachi and Hub area were targeted, killing two members of the staff and critically injuring four others.

Likewise on January 31, 2012, an armed attack was carried out on a cellular franchise in Karachi. Three people were shot dead – one female staff member, one customer and one guard, while two staff members were critically injured with multiple bullet wounds.

The TTP claimed responsibility for these assaults.

Following the attacks, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone and Warid addressed a letter to Federal Secretary, the federal interior ministry and Chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) seeking protection against future threats.

The letter, available with The Express Tribune, cites telephone threats being hurled by the TTP.

Upon receiving this letter, the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the ministry of interior sent a circular to all provincial home departments, provincial police chiefs and heads of other law enforcement agencies with directives that appropriate security measures be undertaken to provide mobile phone installations and cellular company personnel adequate protection.

Meanwhile, the situation is not yet back to normal. With precious lives lost, many families are left without their breadwinners while several others have been emotionally shattered for life. On the other hand, the reputation of cellular phone companies has taken a beating, leading to loss of business through lack of public confidence in visiting their sales outlets.

“These attacks are extremely worrying as they are raising concern among our shareholders/partners who are following recent developments having the potential for long term impact on their investments,” the mobile operators wrote in their communiqué.

“The attacks should not be considered as just attacks on cellular mobile operators but in fact, these assaults can have serious impact on Pakistan’s economy at this critical time when foreign direct investment is much needed. In view of the above it is requested that all possible measures be taken for the protection of our installations throughout the country to avert this worsening situation and to restore the confidence of our shareholders and investors in the forthcoming auction of 3G licences.

Such incidents in the country can largely harm the trust of new investors and they might end up deciding otherwise. In view of this, cellular service providers have requested preemptive measures to be put in place to prevent such incidents from occurring.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (13)

    Feb 14, 2012 - 12:01PM

    Now where are those “tasubi” commentators….. who blamed MQM for the attacks on cellular service providers in karachi…. Shame on you… you guys deserve theseRecommend

  • sars
    Feb 14, 2012 - 1:06PM

    thank you .Now can we do something about eliminating these monsters rather than trying and failing in negotiations?


  • hammad
    Feb 14, 2012 - 1:37PM

    Who needs cellphones when TTP takes over anyway. We will all be talking to God directly.


  • JS
    Feb 14, 2012 - 2:20PM

    nobody loves cellphones in pakistan more than the Pathans (majority of the TTP)…makes no sense for them to attack cellphone companies like this…do they not know i wake up every morning just hoping i’ll get to hear that amazing tune on my guards/drivers/houseboys cellphone?? Who will buy these millions of jazz/djuice/talkshawk prepaid cards??? and who will the 50000 commercials of men and women dancing on a train going to their home village, appeal too???


  • Sher Zaman
    Feb 14, 2012 - 3:30PM

    Although our forces have significantly reduced the threat and has captured huge caches of arms, but now the issue of IEDs has surfaced. It is important to oversee the sale and purchase of materials that are used to manufacture these IEDs. Another important thing that can be done is the rehabilitation of those who have fought the state. There is a certain degree of willingness among these people to start a normal life.


  • Feb 14, 2012 - 3:43PM

    The TTP is backed by RAW,CIA,and mosad.


  • Head Shot
    Feb 14, 2012 - 4:45PM

    Wish u believed that much in God that you wouldn’t be wasting time on comments but rather fighting in his way …

    I’m surely a wrongdoer but I don’t stand in your same queue as your which I fear whose queue maker would be able to talk with God directly (in good terms at-least)


  • JustAnotherPakistani
    Feb 14, 2012 - 6:51PM

    Why does civil society put up with this? There’s millions of Pakistanis who disagree with the TTP. Just take them out.


  • Feb 14, 2012 - 11:42PM

    Death to TTP


  • Falcon
    Feb 15, 2012 - 12:23AM

    But the article just mentions developments or more of assumptions without providing the details on why TTP might be against cell phones in specific…if anything, I would have expected them to be against marketing companies for bill boards, media outlets, internet, TV, radio? Some thing doesn’t seem right here. Need more thorough analysis.


  • Feb 15, 2012 - 1:28AM

    Dear Zahid,

    Have we become so immune to the acts of terror that the conspiracy theories have begun to outweigh the facts of the situation? TTP and other terrorist organizations routinely and boastfully claim responsibility for terrorist attacks. Time and again the evidence points to the same miscreants. Would you not agree that choosing to ignore such evidence amounts to nothing more than conspiracy theory? Their suicide bombings over the past weeks have targeted specific demographics throughout the country. It is evident from their local knowledge that the roots of terrorism in Pakistan lie deep and are widespread, and that homegrown insurgency is at work. Conspiracy theorists suggest U.S. involvement in these terrorist attacks, suggestions that are baseless and unverifiable. Were they true, U.S. and NATO forces would not continue countering terrorists while sacrificing their soldiers in order to help Afghanistan towards becoming a safe, secure and stable country. Dear Zahid, the truth still remains: we have a common terrorist enemy and a common goal of defeating terrorism. The responsibility for protecting the citizens of Pakistan lies with the government and the U.S. fully supports this great nation in its mission to eliminate homegrown insurgency.


  • Harry Stone
    Feb 15, 2012 - 4:17AM

    Just another example of PAK national integrity at work. These are not terrorists they are just citizens trying to get ahead……


  • Love Pakistan
    Mar 17, 2012 - 6:51AM

    Oh. Drones help us and our beloved homeland as our security forces are unable to safe guard us. Join our voice my dear compatriot.


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