In order to ensure security on the 9th and 10th of Muharram, cellular service will remain suspended in three cities of Sindh. However, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have yet to announce their decision regarding a possible suspension.
According to the schedule issued by the Sindh Home Department on Sunday, the cell phone service will remain suspended in Karachi on Muharram 9 and 10 (today and tomorrow) from 6am to 10pm and in Sukkur from 11am to 10pm. The service will remain suspended in Hyderabad on Muharram 10 from 6am to 10pm.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Home and Tribal Affairs Department has yet to receive a reply from the interior ministry on whether or not to suspend cellular networks on the Ashura.
“We have not received a reply from the federal government as yet,” an official said on Sunday afternoon. He added the provincial government intended to shut down cellular networks to avert the possibility of a militant attack on 9th and 10th Muharram.
According to Provincial Crisis Management Centre officials, they will wait for the interior ministry’s response before it takes any decision on the matter.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for Punjab’s Inspector General Police said the Punjab government has not yet taken any decision regarding suspension of mobile services, adding that a request for suspension was initiated by districts.
“As previously planned cell phone service will be suspended only in limited areas,” she said, adding, however, that if needed they might also request for a complete suspension. Talking to The Express Tribune, the DIG Lahore said mobile service might be suspended in areas of procession from 9pm.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2014.