The cellular phone services will remain partially suspended this week in the twin cities, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, on account of the Pakistan Day, 23rd March.
The cellular services were down for several hours yesterday in parts of Islamabad and Rawalpindi as a security precaution while various armed forces carried out rehearsals for Thursday’s Pakistan Day parade at the Shakarparian parade ground. Contingents of Army, Pakistan Air Force, Navy, Frontier Corps, Northern Light Infantry, Mujahid Force and other services participated in the rehearsal.
Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) usually notifies about the suspension of cellular services in the capital. However, no such prior announcement was made for Sunday’s suspension. The unannounced blackout of phone services caused inconvenience in the residents of twin cities. A PTA official told Dawn,
“Security agencies do not announce suspension of services to maintain security. Announcing it defeats the purpose of securing the parade ground where personnel of joint armed forces rehearse for the military parade on March 23. Phone services are expected to be suspended again during the final rehearsals and certainly on March 23.”
He also said that security concerns were higher this year because of the series of attacks in the last couple of months across the country. Reportedly, phone services will also remain down tomorrow (March 21) when a full dress rehearsal is expected to be held.
According to the mobile operators, the notice to suspend services originated from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on the last minute and its details were confidential. The government might also suspend 3G and 4G services on 23rd of March.
This is not the first time government has taken such a step. In past, we have witnessed government suspending mobile phone services on national and religious holidays to avoid any unexpected incident which can create chaos.