Karachi: In an unprecedented move, the Pakistan government has banned the use of motorcycles in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan as it fears terror attacks on the first day of Islamic month of Muharram.
    
Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that the use of motorcycles will be banned in the provinces including the capital cities of Karachi and Quetta.
    
He said there was conclusive information that terrorists were planning attacks on the first of Muharram in these two big cities and other towns.
    
Malik said that the government would also decide tomorrow morning on suspending cellular services for the day. Malik contended that these extreme steps were being taken in view of intelligence reports about possible terror attacks.
    
"The use of motorcycles is banned on Friday from 6 in the morning to 7 in the evening. We have also imposed a ban on display of arms in these provinces," he said.
    
There are around 1.2 million registered motorcycles in Karachi and thousands are used with unregistered number plates as they serve the main mode of transport for the lower and middle class income group.
    
The first day of Muharram will fall tomorrow and marks the beginning of a 10-day period of mourning for Shia Muslims culminating in Ashura on the 10th of Muharram when processions are taken out throughout the country.
    
Malik said there was creditable information about terrorists planning to carry out a wave of attacks during Muharram and security had not only been stepped up but other measures were being taken to deal with the terrorists.
    
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah in perhaps a first incident of its kind also led special prayers for peace in the provincial assembly session today.
    
In recent days there has been a surge in sectarian violence in Karachi which is Pakistan's biggest city with around a 100 people killed in a week's time many of them Shia Muslims who fell victim to target killers.
    
Officials told the media that cellular service providers had been directed to remain prepared to shut off services at any time between November 23 and November 25.

(Agencies)

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