Islamabad: Against the backdrop of intelligence reports about possible terror attacks during the Eid holidays, cellular services have been suspended in four major Pakistani cities, including Lahore and Karachi, to prevent bombings triggered by mobile phones.

Millions of people in Lahore, Multan, Karachi and Quetta were unable to use their mobile phones since 8 pm on Sunday night as cellular operators suspended all services in most parts of these cities on the directions of the Interior Ministry.

Mobile services briefly restored

After being briefly restored in parts of the cities early Monday morning, cellular services were again suspended between 7 am and 10 am as special prayers for Eid-ul-Fitr were held across the country.

Residents of Lahore and Karachi said services were restored in some parts of the cities at around 10 am.

The move was criticised by people across Pakistan, who said they were unable to wish friends and relatives on the occasion of Eid.

Many Pakistanis took to social networking sites to criticise Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the suspension of mobile services, saying people would be unable to contact police or rescue services in any emergency.

"We have done it to stop bombings using mobile phones," Malik told reporters when he made a surprise inspection of security at a market in Islamabad late last night.

He said the Interior Ministry had made arrangements to suspend cellular services in Islamabad too in the event of any emergency.

"The objective of the Pakistan government is to save lives. There will be some inconvenience due to the lack of mobile services but I will request the people to bear with it," he said.


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