LANDI KOTAL/GHALANAI: Almost all the mobile phone companies have suspended their 3G service in most parts of tribal areas since the eruption of armed clashes between Afghanistan and Pakistan over the construction of a gate at Torkham border.
The fast track net service provided to mobile phone users makes net surfing and contacts with outside world a lot easy and convenient for the otherwise deprived denizens of Fata.
The service was suspended on June 12 when Pakistani border security guards closed the border to all types of traffic after Afghan forces resorted to firing on the evening of June 11 owing to construction of a gate at Pakistan side.
The service remained suspended as the mobile companies were yet to furnish a satisfactory explanation for the sudden disruption of its fast track net service.
Service was suspended by phone companies in tribal areas after Torkham clashes
Sources said that the 3G service was also terminated in Bajaur, Mohmand and Kurram agencies alongside Jamrud and Landi Kotal tehsils of Khyber Agency.
The suspension of 3G service caused problems for thousands of mobile phone users in the tribal areas as they were disconnected from the outside world.
“There is a complete blackout of social media and nobody is able to make a video call to his or her relatives or friends in foreign countries or other cities of the country,” Ali Man Shah, a resident of Jamrud, told Dawn.
He said that his son was working in Saudi Arabia and he would regularly talk to him through video calls but he was unable to him for the last one week owing to suspension 3G service by phone companies.
“I made a number of complaints with the mobile phone service I am using but have not received any satisfactory reply as to why the service was suspended,” he said. Sudher Ahmad, a local journalist in Landi Kotal, said that such facilities were ensured to every citizen of the country through Article 19-A of the Constitution. He said that the suspension of the service was a violation of the constitution. He said that suspension of 3G service adversely affected professional responsibilities of most of the local journalists as they faced difficulties in sending news stories to their respective media organisations within the stipulated time.
The mobile phone users also complained about problems in call connectivity from their respective mobile services and said that their calls were suddenly dropped after every few seconds.
A worker at a franchise of a mobile phone company in Ghalanai told Dawn that the service was suspended by their office in Peshawar but he did not cite any solid reason for suspension of the service.
Another source said that the decision was taken on the directives of senior officials. “We don’t know about the reason behind disconnection of the service in the tribal areas,” he added.
Ismail Khan, student, said that he couldn’t apply for a job owing to suspension of the service.
Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2016