KARACHI: As a part of elaborate security measures to ensure that Ashura passes off without any untoward incident, mobile phone services have been suspended in Karachi and other parts of the country on Saturday (today).
The cellular services will remain suspended from 9:00 am till 12:00 pm. The cities where mobile services have been suspended today included Karachi, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Khairpur in Sindh and Multan, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Rahim Yar Khan, Sargodha, Quetta and Peshawar in other provinces of Pakistan.
Amid rampant militancy and sectarianism, stringent security arrangements have been put in place to avoid any untoward incident on Ashura days.
The provincial governments had requested the authorities concerned to suspend the mobile phone services in the areas declared as sensitive.
Moreover, the cellular services will also remain suspended in Karachi and other parts of the country on 10th Muharram (tomorrow).
Earlier this week, provincial home minister Sohail Anwar Khan Siyal had asked the federal interior ministry to suspend mobile phone services in major cities of the province on 9th and 10th Muharram.
In view of Muharram processions, Karachi traffic police has announced alternate routes and traffic arrangements for Saturday and Sunday.
As per details, M. A. Jinnah Road has been divided into 23 sub-sectors, while shops and all of the 287 entry points to M.A. Jinnah Road have been sealed. The main congregation centre, Nishtar Park, has been divided into nine sectors.
Police officials and sniper squads will be deployed at 124 buildings from Nishtar Park to M.A. Jinnah Road. The main congregations and Muharram processions will start after getting clearance from bomb disposal squad.
Pillion riding has been banned across Sindh on 8th, 9th and 10th Muharram.