KARACHI: Cellular services were suspended in several cities of the country Thursday in light of security concerns during Ashura holidays, DawnNews reported.
Security arrangements have been made for Muharramul Harram across the country in order to ensure the establishment of peace and order and to deal with any possible threat of terrorism.
Militants in Pakistan often detonate bombs using cell phones and the government has implemented similar service suspensions in the past.
On the request of the Sindh government, cellular services have been suspended in the cities of Karachi, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Ghotki, Khairpur, Rohri and Jacobabad.
The Sindh government also imposed a ban on pillion-riding across the province on Muharram 9 and 10. The ban, however, would not apply to women, children below the age of 12 years, senior citizens, disabled persons, journalists and personnel of law-enforcement agencies, Sharfuddin Memon, the consultant to the Sindh home ministry had said on November 12.
The civil administration in Lahore also announced the closure of cell phone networks in areas where Muharram processions would be carried out, following which services were suspended in Gulbahar, Mall Road, Islampura and other areas. Cellular networks were also partially closed in some areas.
Earlier on November 13, Punjab Law and Local Government Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan also announced a ban on pillion riding in Punjab on Muharram 9 and 10.
Moreover, services have also been blocked in multiple cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, including Peshawar, Hangu, Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan among other areas which have been declared sensitive. Officials said the ban was imposed in order to thwart possible terrorist attacks.
Mobile services were also suspended in some cities of Azad Kashmir, including Muzaffarabad, Neelum, Rawalakot and Kotli during the Ashura holidays.
Cellular services were also suspended in Islamabad. Furthermore, 3,000 Rangers and police personnel have been deployed across the federal capital to guard Shia processions. According to details, processions will be carried out from Imam Bargah Asna Ashri in sector G-6/2 and culminate at the same point after passing through various routes.