Pakistan mobile networks suspended on security fears

Aug 20, 2012
A donkey-cart driver uses his mobile phone in downtown Multan, Punjab province, in March 2012. Pakistan shut down mobile phone networks overnight in major cities to prevent Taliban and Al-Qaeda attacks as celebrations began for the biggest Muslim festival of the year.

Pakistan shut down mobile phone networks overnight in major cities to prevent Taliban and Al-Qaeda attacks as celebrations began for the biggest Muslim festival of the year.

The draconian security measure kicked in on Sunday at 8:00 pm (1500 GMT), at a time when millions ordinarily telephone friends and relatives with greetings for Eid al-Fitr. Networks were working again on Monday mid-morning.

Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan's two largest cities, and the troubled city of Quetta, in the insurgency-torn province of Baluchistan, were among the places where networks were suspended.

"We regret that it had to be suspended in some cities due to the risk of terrorist ," Interior Minister Rehman Malik was quoted as saying by state TV.

"We regret inconvenience caused to youths and children."

Terrorists were plotting to target "a few areas of Punjab province", of which Lahore is the capital, the minister said. Sindh province, where Karachi is the capital, and Baluchistan were also targets, he added.

Authorities feared that could be used to coordinate attacks or trigger a remote-controlled bomb.

The Eid festival marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and, in Pakistan, is accompanied by a three-day public holiday, until Thursday.

The country has been on alert for Eid and security forces stepped up their presence in major cities as celebrations got under way.

On Thursday, heavily armed militants stormed an air force base, the worst attack on a military facility for more than a year, sparking clashes that left 10 people dead.

On the same day, gunmen in military uniforms pulled 20 Shiite Muslim travellers from vehicles and shot them dead in the northwestern district of Mansehra.

Pakistan says 35,000 people, including more than 3,000 soldiers, have been killed as a result of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and the 2001 US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan.

Explore further: Say it with light: Using LEDs to move data faster

Related Stories

UN polio suspension hits 22,000 Pakistan children

Aug 02, 2012

Around 22,000 Pakistani children are at risk in Karachi after the World Health Organization suspended polio vaccinations over a spate of bloody shootings, a UN official warned Thursday.

Virus hits US drone fleet: report

Oct 09, 2011

A computer virus has hit the US Predator and Reaper drone fleet that Washington deploys to hunt down militants, logging the keystrokes of pilots remotely flying missions, Wired magazine reported.

First Afghan fibre optic cable connects to Tajikistan

Jun 04, 2009

Part of Afghanistan's first international fibre optic cable has opened in a project that will make the country millions of dollars and boost regional connectivity, a cabinet minister said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Solar Impulse 2 pilot becomes aviation legend

Jul 04, 2015

At 62 years of age, Swiss Solar Impulse 2 pilot Andre Borschberg has made aviation history with a record breaking solo flight across the Pacific that he has called "an interior journey".

Facegloria: Facebook for Brazil's Evangelicals

Jul 04, 2015

Fluffy clouds waft across a blue sky as you log in and while you chat with friends, Gospel music rings out: welcome to Facegloria, the social network for Brazilian Evangelicals.

Mexico City proposes regulations for Uber

Jul 04, 2015

Mexico City is proposing regulations that would allow Uber and other smartphone-based ride-sharing apps to operate, while requiring drivers and cars to be registered, the city's Office of Legal and Legislative Studies said ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.