Cell phone services temporarily suspended around Lal Masjid



Cell phone services were temporarily suspended in parts of the federal capital prior to Friday prayers at noon. This is the third such incident to occur in Islamabad within the past month.

A customer service representative (CSR) at a major cell phone service provider said that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) asked the service provider to suspend signals within one kilometre of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Sectors G-6 and G-7, which are adjacent to the mosque and the seminary. However, telcos suspended services in most parts of the capital, the CSR said.

PTA and Interior Ministry officials said that Lal Masjid administration had called for a protest after Friday prayers due to which security agencies were on high alert. The Interior Ministry, therefore, told the PTA to direct cell phone service providers to suspend services.

A similar suspension of service occurred on Friday 11 Dec in Islamabad due to “security reasons” at the PTA’s directive, according to a cellular company CSR.

According to the representative, the authority had asked telecom companies to suspend services during the said time period in G-6, G-7 and F-6 areas of the capital which are adjacent to the Lal Masjid. But most companies terminated services throughout the city, the representative said.