Government of Sindh has decided to suspend cellular services in different parts of the province on account of Ashura, 9th and 10th of Muharram-al-Haram. The step has been taken to ensure fool proof security arrangements during the religious processions of Ashura in various cities and towns across the province.
There was a complete cellular shut down in Karachi yesterday from 10 am till evening. All roads and streets linked to MA Jinnah Road were also blocked with shipping containers placed all around. Moreover, a heavy contingent of police and paramilitary troops deployed in order to safeguard the route of the main procession from Numaish to Kharadar. Pillion riding on motor bikes has also been banned in the city for three days.
Sindh government, in a letter to the Federal Interior Ministry, asked for a cellular services suspension from Friday till Sunday during day hours in a number of districts including Karachi, Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Shikarpur and Jacobabad on following days and timings:
- 8th Muharram (Friday): 10am to 10pm (along the route of procession)
- 9th Muharram (Saturday): 8am to 11:59pm (complete ban)
- 10th Muharram (Sunday): 8am to 11:59pm (complete ban)
Though containers placed on the roads had virtually blocked roads leading to schools and colleges in the city on Friday, the Sindh government did not declare it a holiday. Instead, Saturday and Sunday have been declared public holidays throughout the province. However, private sector schools and colleges announced holiday on Friday as well.
According to a notification issued on Thursday, all schools, colleges, offices, autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, corporations and local councils under the administrative control of the government of Sindh except for essential services will observe holidays on 9th and 10th Muharram.
Suspension Of Cellular Services in Other Parts of Pakistan
Some TV channels reported that certain districts in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan have also announced similar measures in the name of security arrangements. Private schools remained closed on Friday in many cities including Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.
However, an official from the Punjab government has denied any such decision to block mobile signals along the procession routes. He further said that law enforcement authorities are continuing to evaluate the situation and nothing can be ruled out in the meantime.
On the contrary, some districts like Faislabad, Bahawalnagar and Chakwal have observed cellular blackout on Friday. Likewise, Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan have announced the same for safeguarding Ashura processions.