The exact timings of the service shutdown have not been confirmed. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pak­istan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Sunday said mobile phone services would remain suspended on the 9th and 10th of Muharram for security reasons in specified areas of all the cities across the country.

While the PTA did not confirm exact timings, the cellular services — particularly in areas through which processions pass — are expected to remain suspended from morning till 6pm on both days.

A senior official in the Ministry of Interior said that a specific notification had been issued by the government. Without naming localities, the official said cellular services in all the cities across Pakistan would be suspended in the areas identified and indicated by the district administrations and the police in their respective cities for the safety of mourners during processions.

The directions to kill both mobile and broadband services are passed down from the Ministry of Interior to the PTA, which ensures its implementation by passing on the orders to all the operators.

According to an official in the PTA, historically such instructions to suspend mobile phone services are issued at the last minute to ensure maximum security.

According to a list of sectors provided by the capital administration and the Islamabad police, mobile services will remain suspended in sectors G-6 and G-7, Blue Area, I-10 and Khyaban-i-Sir Syed, Rawalpindi on Monday and Tuesday.

While mobile phone services are also suspended in sectors G-9 and G-10, subscribers in Bari Imam may also face inconvenience due to the suspension of cell phone services on Ashura. These areas will remain out of cellular service on requests from the capital administration and Islamabad police to ensure security.

For the past few years, the authorities concerned have been suspending cellular services in the specific areas where Muharram processions are usually held, without disrupting the mobile phone services in other parts of the city.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2019