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Four-hour cellphone shutdown today

October 26, 2012

Interior Minister Rehman Malik.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Friday that cellphone service would remain suspended from 6am to 10am on the first day of Eid (Saturday) in 13 selected places.

Talking to reporters, the minister said the decision to keep the service suspended had been taken in the light of credible information from intelligence agencies and the provincial governments about “threats to national security” on Eid day.

The minister, however, refused to name the places where cellphone services would be blocked. But television channels quoted their sources as saying the suspension order would apply to three cities of Sindh (Karachi, Hyderabad and Khairpur), three cities of Punjab (Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan), Quetta, Mastung, Gwadar, Turbat, Naseerabad and Sibi in Balochistan; Peshawar, Mansehra, Buner and Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Bajaur and Mohmand agencies, Gilgit and Skardu.

Showing copies of letters written by the provincial governments requesting for the suspension of the service, the minister said it was not a one-man decision and everyone was on board.

Mr Malik said the Sindh government had even requested him to suspend the service almost in the whole province, but he had refused to do so.

The minister said he knew about the criticism on this decision and had been receiving messages on Twitter calling him names. “But I have an obligation. I am the interior minister,” he said.