ISLAMABAD - As a pre-emptive measure to avoid any terrorist activity in the country as protests continued against the anti-Islam movie on Friday, the federal government suspended cellular phone service in major and small cities throughout Pakistan. The mobile service remained suspended from early Friday morning to afternoon in many cities throughout the country including Islamabad, Rawalpindi Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Khanewal and Jgang. However, in some big cities, the phone service was also partially suspended on Friday early evening and that remained disconnected till night. According to an official of the Ministry of Interior, the cellular phone service was disconnected in as many as 16 small and big cities of the country by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on the request of the ministry.
Meanwhile, Rehman Malik said the suspension of cellular network on the eve of Yaum-e-Ishq-e-Rasool had disturbed the nefarious planning of the terrorists and that the idea had proved successful and widely applauded.
“If mobile phone is the root cause of the problem, we would surely curb its misuse. Soon, we will come up with a strategy in this regard,” he announced talking to the media during his visit to a police check post to examine security situation amidst protest demonstrations against the hate film.
The minister said the police was handling the protestors with iron hand and that no one challenging the government writ was being spared.
He said till Thursday night there had been intelligence reports of some terror incidents in Peshawar, Quetta and low-level information regarding Islamabad also.
However, the strategy of suspending cell phone service got applause even from Karachi where unprecedented peace has been witnessed for the very reason.
He said that pillion riding has also been banned in Islamabad for a day as the people on bikes holding batons and petrol bottles were seen damaging public properties.
To a question about the arrival of activists of the banned outfits, he said the known faces would be nabbed but at the moment, police could not do anything for those who were unfamiliar.