ISLAMABAD: Residents of the federal capital on Monday faced hardship as mobile phone service remained suspended throughout the day.

The service was not restored when this report was filed at 10:30pm.

Apparently, the government took the decision to ensure that the protesters, who reached D. Chowk on Sunday night, did not have the facility of communication. However, it was the residents who suffered the most, not the protesters who continued the sit-in at D. Chowk.

The residents of the capital city face the suspension of mobile phone service whenever a religious event is observed. For a number of weeks recently, the ministry of interior suspended the service to stop Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz from delivering Friday sermons from his residence on a mobile phone.

Maqbool Ahmed, a local resident, said on Fridays the cell phone service used to be suspended for a few hours but on Monday the residents remained without the facility throughout the day.

“I had to go to Pakistan Secretariat to meet a government officer but cancelled the visit as I could not contact him on his mobile phone to confirm where he was present in the office or not. It would have been waste of time and energy to go there and come back without meeting him,” he said.

Shahid Nazir, another resident, said it was strange that the mobile service was suspended on Monday instead of Sunday when the protesters marched to the capital from Rawalpindi.

Suspending the mobile service when the protesters were sitting at one place and did not need to communicate with each other is beyond my comprehension, he added.

He said it was also strange that the government suspended the service throughout the city instead of D. Chowk and the nearby areas.

Despite repeated attempts, officials of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) could not be contacted for comments.

A representative of Mobilink customer care, Mohammad Omer Ghori, told Dawn that at 12:30am on Monday, the PTA advised the company to suspend its service in the radius of 10 kilometres around D. Chowk.

“According to a notification, the service has been suspended till further order and we cannot say when it would be restored,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2016


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