Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Turkish troops to go further into Syria, says foreign minister

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Court ruling expected on Gabon's contested election results

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Clinton's Comedy Turn

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Sarkozy's Populist Pivot, Bahamas Leaks, Syria Truce, Rome Olympic Bid (Part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

US Police Shootings: Race relations and the race to the White House (Part 1)

Read more

#TECH 24

Breaking the wall between technology and people

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Rural France: Challenges and opportunities

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: In Burma, ex-political prisoners struggle to return to normal life

Read more

ENCORE!

Xavier Dolan: Wunderkind of Québecquois cinema

Read more

Asia-pacific

Pakistan suspends phone services over terrorism fears

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-11-23

Mobile phone services have been suspended in major Pakistani cities to prevent terrorist attacks ahead of the Shiite holiday of Ashura on Sunday after a bomb killed 23 people at a Shiite procession on Thursday.

Pakistan on Friday suspended mobile phone services in major cities to prevent terror attacks from marring Shiite Muslim commemorations, officials said.

Mobile and wireless phone services were temporarily blocked in the commercial capital Karachi, the southwestern city of Quetta and in parts of the capital.

It is the second time Pakistan has shut down mobile networks during the holy month of Muharram, which culminates with Ashura, the holiest day in the Shiite Muslim calendar when faithful march to mourn the seventh-century killing of Imam Hussein.

A suicide bomber killed 23 people and wounded 62 others at a Shiite procession in Rawalpindi on Thursday, the deadliest bombing in Pakistan for five months.

Ashura falls this year on Sunday and has been a magnet for sectarian attacks with rights groups heavily criticising the government for failing to stop extremist violence.

"We have shut our service in Karachi and Quetta on the instructions of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority from 1:00 pm (0800 GMT) to midnight," said an official at Mobilink, the country's largest mobile phone service provider.

An official at PTCL, which runs the landline and wireless phone services, said wireless phones had also been turned off at the government's instructions.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced the phone suspension earlier, saying it was intended to "ensure security during and after the Muharram processions".

Malik said he had received a request from the government in Punjab province, Pakistan's most populous, to suspend mobile phone communications in 14 cities for two days.

Mobile phone services in various parts of the northwest, south and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir will also be suspended, he added.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said the suspension was likely to continue until Ashura on Sunday.

"The wireless phone service will most likely be suspended for the next two days just the way it was today," Akhlaq Hussain, a director of PTA, told AFP.

In December 2009, a suicide bomber killed 43 people in Karachi at a Shiite procession to mark Ashura.

Pakistan says 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and the 2001 US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan.

(AFP)

 

Date created : 2012-11-23

  • Pakistan

    Pakistan drops Christian girl blasphemy case

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Pakistan releases Taliban to encourage peace process

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Pakistan marks 'Malala day' to promote education

    Read more

COMMENT(S)