Mobile phone services were suspended in several sensitive cities and districts of the country as part of government’s security plan for ‘chehlum’ on Thursday.
The decision to suspend mobile phone services in the country was taken by the government in Islamabad on Wednesday for security during ‘chehlum’.
The people termed suspension of mobile phone service a failure on part of the government, which deprived the people of this basic necessity of modern time. They termed Interior Minister Rehman Malik makes it a routine exercise to block mobile service in the country even on normal occasions.
People faced lots of problems after the government suspended mobile phone service in all major cities including Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The government suspended service of all cellular companies from early morning till 6 p.m. to avoid security threats during ‘chehlum’ processions. The alternative communication services such as wireless, landline services and internet were also suspended in some areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, which also created difficulties for public.
Different rescue organisations particularly Rescue 1122 and ambulance service in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad faced a lot of difficulties due to suspension of mobile service. People were not able to contact rescue services on time.
The key post officials of Rescue 1122, Rawalpindi on condition of anonymity said that they were totally helpless before the situation when there was no source of communication. “If a bad incident happens in any place we could not do anything higher authorities should not blame us”, they said.
Officials of different telecommunication service providers on the condition of anonymity told ‘The News’ that the sector faced losses because of the closure of service. They said that services were suspended in major cities in the country including Rawalpindi and Islamabad. “Government has made it a routine exercise to block mobile service on any occasion, which is not good”, they claimed.
Talking to ‘The News’ people belonging to different walks of life said that the alternative communication services such as wireless, landline services and internet were used by the people in big cities. If the people use alternative services then terrorists could also use them, hence, there is no logic to shut down mobile service.
Kishwer Nahid, a workingwoman said that mobile phones have become part of everybody’s life in which they could use them round the clock to communicate with their near and dear ones.
Aziz ur Rehman, told this scribe that his son had to depart abroad on Friday morning and on Thursday he had gone to visit a family member in Islamabad. “There was slight glitch in his travel documents and I had been quite tense as I could not contact my son on his mobile phone. I wonder when will the government be able to rid people off these tensions. Only Allah Almighty can help us.”
Waqar Ahmed, a local said that it is failure on part of the government, which deprived the people of this basic necessarily. Raja Riasat working in a private firm said, “Government could have tackled it in a much better way.