Pakistan suspends mobile, internet for security reasons

Islamabad: Pakistan today suspended mobile phone and internet services for some hours in parts of the capital Islamabad for security reasons following a protest call from a Red Mosque cleric to implement Islamic laws in the country.

Maulana Abdul Aziz, also known as ‘burqa cleric’ for his failed bid to escape from the mosque wearing a woman’s veil during 2007 military operation, had called for a protest after Friday prayer. The authorities suspended services of mobile and internet within about two kilometers of the Red Mosque and its affiliated Jamia Hafsa seminary citing security reasons, according to an official of the interior ministry.

Areas close to the mosque were affected by the ban besides the seminary where the service was not available from 12 pm to 2.30 pm. This is the third time Pakistan has suspended mobile phone and internet services in Islamabad within the past month. The cleric has launched a protest campaign to force the government to implement Sharia in the country and has launched a petition with the Supreme Court to ask government to adopt Islamic laws.

Aziz was discredited after his burqa incident but he has been trying to revive his fame through theatrics like naming a library after Osama bin Laden last year and praising militants fighting Pakistan army.

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