Pakistan shuts Internet ahead of Muharram

Islamabad: Pakistan has been attacking India for communication lockdown in Kashmir, but has not hesitated to shut down Internet services in various parts of the country, including Islamabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Peshawar ahead of the Muharram on Tuesday.

As the Shias will observe their most important ritual, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Sunday said mobile phone services would remain suspended on the Monday and Tuesday, besides heightening security in specified areas of all cities across the country, Dawn news reported.

While the PTA did not confirm exact timings, the cellular services -- particularly in areas through which Muharram procession will pass -- are expected to remain suspended from morning till 6 p.m. on both days.

A senior official in the Ministry of Interior said that a specific notification has been issued by the government. The official said cellular services would be suspended in areas identified and indicated by the district administrations across Pakistan for the safety of mourners during the procession.

The directions to kill both mobile and broadband services are passed down from the Ministry of Interior to the PTA, which ensures its implementation by passing on the orders to all the operators.

According to an official in the PTA, historically such instructions to suspend mobile phone services are issued at the last minute to ensure maximum security.

Tight security arrangements have been made especially in Islamabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Peshawar where thousands of personnel have been deployed on the routes of the Muharram procession.

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Free Press Journal