Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Valls is starting to act like Hollande

Read more

WEB NEWS

Wikileaks releases "weaponized malware" customer list

Read more

DEBATE

Hollande on his own? Socialist backbenchers abstain on confidence vote

Read more

DEBATE

Hollande on his own? Socialist backbenchers abstain on confidence vote (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Ukraine politician thrown on rubbish heap

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Iraq wants role for Iran in anti-IS coalition', says foreign minister

Read more

ENCORE!

Margaret Atwood: A Prophetic Writer in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

Italy: The search for missing migrants

Read more

WEB NEWS

News media urged not to show Islamic State group videos

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)