Pakistan wireless networks shut down for festival

29 Oct 2012

Local news outlets report that wireless networks in Pakistan’s major cities were closed down by the authorities over the weekend, over fears of terrorist attacks during the Eid Al-Adha celebrations, the third black out imposed by the interior ministry in the last six months. Representatives of the nation’s telcos criticised the move, claiming that the decision was based on a ‘vague alert’ issued by Interior Minister Rehman Malik citing terrorism concerns. They argued that the disruption would cost operators ‘billions of rupees,’ as the Eid celebrations traditionally generate large amounts of SMS and voice traffic. On Friday, the Sindh High Court had ruled that the interior ministry should not suspend mobile phone services unless absolutely necessary. The court’s decision required that the ministry and Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) were not to disrupt services without cogent reasons and with a specific timeframe.