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Plan to suspend cellphone service during Eid

October 23, 2012

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— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Cellphone services may be suspended in some parts of the country during Eid days because of risks of terrorist attacks.

According to sources, the ministry of interior has received warnings from security agencies about possibility of incidents of terrorism during Eid and terrorists may use mobile phones to detonate explosive devices and communicate with each other to organise attacks.

Cellular services were blocked in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Multan and some other parts of the country during Eidul Fitr.

The government of Balochistan blocked cellphone services in Quetta on Independence Day.

“The interior ministry knows that cellphones have become an essential part of life, but security of people is more important and, therefore, the service may be blocked for some time,” an official of the ministry said.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that a decision to close the service during Eid holidays was yet to be taken.

Mr Malik said that adequate security arrangements would be made and the provincial governments had been asked to assign special duties to security staff to ensure safety of people.

Meanwhile, the ministry of interior has devised a code of conduct for collection of hides of sacrificial animals.

An organisation collecting hides will have to get a certificate from DCO or DPO.

The home secretaries have been advised to arrange random video monitoring of collection of hides to ensure that people belonging to proscribed organisations are stopped from collecting hides. The use of loudspeakers for the purpose has been banned.

A meeting presided over by Mr Malik decided that certificates would be issued only to legal organisations for collection of hides.

Participants were informed that a list of banned organisations had already been sent to law-enforcement agencies and district administrations.

Such organisations will not be allowed to collect donations and hides even under any other name.

Security at Eidghahs, mosques and open areas where Eid congregations are held will be ensured.

FC in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been instructed to enhance surveillance along the western borders to prevent entry of saboteurs.

Section 144 CrPc will be imposed in all districts to prevent clashes over collection of hides. Nobody will be allowed to force anyone to hand over hides and anybody found involved in such acts will be punished under the relevant section of ATA 1997.

Under the code of conduct, law-enforcement agencies like police and Rangers will have the authority to arrest culprits. The business community has been asked to ensure that they buy hides only from people holding permission to collect hides.

The Intelligence Bureau has been instructed to provide information about people known for using coercive methods to collect hides.

Law-enforcement personnel have been asked to effectively prevent elements of proscribed organisations who collect hides to raise funds for their illegal activities.