Telenor condemns Norway desecration incident, rubbishes rumours of discontinuation of services

Published November 26, 2019
Telenor Pakistan on Monday dispelled rumours of the discontinuation of its services after a fake notice attributed to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was circulated in this regard. — Dawn/File
Telenor Pakistan on Monday dispelled rumours of the discontinuation of its services after a fake notice attributed to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was circulated in this regard. — Dawn/File

Telenor Pakistan on Monday dispelled rumours of the discontinuation of its services after a fake notice attributed to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was circulated in this regard.

In a press release, Telenor Pakistan, owned by the Norwegian company Telenor Group, expressed its "deepest concern" over the incident that took place in the Norwegian city of Kristiansand on November 16 and condemned the desecration of the Quran.

Following the incident, a fake notification attributed to the PTA started circulating which said that Telenor services would no longer be available in Pakistan after December 11.

A copy of the fake PTA notification. — Twitter
A copy of the fake PTA notification. — Twitter

The 'notification' had urged all Telenor customers to use their mobile phone balances as soon as possible and to shift their money in Easypaisa accounts to a bank account or another network's account. PTA had told users that if they didn't want to change their cellphone numbers, they should switch them to another network by December 10.

A press release issued by the mobile network on Monday dispelled rumours of its closure and said: "The company remains committed to the country and is proud to serve millions of Pakistanis."

Telenor Pakistan noted that PTA had also disowned the notice.

"The company has expressed gratitude to its customers for ignoring such rumours and fake messages," the press release stated.

Meanwhile, PTA also distanced itself from the fake notification and urged the public to check official sources such as the authority's website or social media pages.

"PTA is aware of a false advertisement circulating via WhatsApp chat groups for users of a mobile operator.

"PTA clarifies that the aforementioned advertisement is fake and would urge the public to refrain from circulating it, since it might generate confusion and inconvenience for consumers," PTA said in a tweet.

Desecration of the Quran

On November 16, an anti-Islam rally in Kristiansand, Norway had turned violent after its leader set fire to a copy of the Quran despite warnings from police officials.

Lars Thorsen, a leader of an anti-Islam group, set fire to a copy of the Quran while another leader of the far-right group Arne Tumyr desecrated two other copies of the holy book by throwing them into a trash bin during a demonstration organised by their organisation.

Videos that surfaced on social media showed a Muslim youth jumping over a fence and kicking the person burning the holy book. Police then intervened and took the anti-Islam protester and the Muslim youth into custody.

The incident drew nationwide condemnation, with many Pakistanis praising the youth as a hero for defending the Quran.

The Mayor of Kristiansand condemned the incident and expressed compassion for the city's Muslim community.

"Kristiansand is a city for everyone, and we work systematically to create diversity. Such acts are provocative and regrettable," Mayor Harald Furre told Norway's national broadcaster NRK in an interview.

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