KARACHI, Nov 12: The Sindh government has decided to impose a ban on pillion-riding across the province on Muharram 9 and 10 and approached the federal government to keep cellphone service suspended on Ashura on security grounds, a senior home ministry official said on Tuesday.

“The decision has been taken on the advice of security and law-enforcement agencies,” said Sharfuddin Memon, the consultant to the Sindh home ministry. “There is more concentration on Karachi security during Muharram but we have made elaborate arrangements for other Sindh cities as well and the decision to keep pillion-riding banned across the province is part of that plan.”

He said the ban would not be applied to women, children below the age of 12 years, senior citizens, disabled persons, journalists and personnel of law-enforcement agencies.

Sharing the government plan to suspend cellphone service on Muharram 10 in five major cities of the province, he said: “Since it’s federal government’s domain, we have approached the authorities in centre for suspension of cellular services on Ashura in Karachi, Hyderabad, Khairpur Sukkur and Larkana.”

Mr Memon said: “It’s not an SOP (standard operating procedure) to keep cellphone service suspended in these cities every year in Muharram but it’s all on the advice of the security agencies considering the level of threat in the cities.”

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