Mobile Networks to Remain Blocked in Selected Cities for Security Reasons [Updated]

mobile-phone-userPakistan Telecommunication Authority, on orders of Interior Ministry, has directed all mobile phone operators to remain prepared to shut down cellular services in selected parts of country during Chand Raat for security reasons.



We have received confirmation from cellular companies that they are asked by regulator to block cellular services in following four cities:

  • Karachi
  • Lahore
  • Multan
  • Quetta

Order said that service in four upmentioned cities will remain blocked from 8 PM today (i.e. August 19th 2012) till 11 AM tomorrow morning (i.e. August 20th, 2012).

PTA said it could add more cities in blockade list, where service is supposed to remain blocked during this time.

Cellular operators are complying with the orders, we have confirmed.


An enforcement letter from PTA issued earlier today said that mobile phone operators should remain prepared for immediately shutting down the cellular services in selected urban cities, including provincial capitals, from evening 19th August to morning of August 20th, 2012.

PTA said that names of areas/cities will be communicated to cellular operators later, when and if required.

Mr. Rehman Malik, Head of Interior Ministry, has also explained that mobile phone networks are likely to remain blocked in selected parts of country, amid security threats. However, he said, service will remain down for not more than few hours only.

Following is the letter sent out to all cellular operators:

Dear All.

In order to help Law Enforcement Agencies to improve the security situation and to avoid any untoward incident in different parts of the country including provincial capitals, mobile services will be required to be closed from evening 19th August, 2012 to morning 20th August, 2012.

Therefore, all mobile operators are requested to be ready as the area names will be  communicated at a very short notice, please..


Muhammad Ali,Deputy Director (Enforcement),

Enforcement Division, PTA HQ,F-5/1, Islamabad.

It merits mentioning here that cellular networks remain over capacity during Chaand Raat and might give a feeling that services are blocked. You can easily determine the service status by noticing the signals available over your phone. Just in case, cellular signal bars will disappear in case of service shut down.

Service shut down (or let me say this adventure of Mr. Rehman Malik) is causing large scale disruption, especially when its Eid Night and people make/receive calls from their loved ones with-in and outside Pakistan. Cellular companies are complying with the orders, but are cursing the government for such ill-advised decision.

It is advised to use landline telephone services for any urgent needs during possible cellular shut down.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • Hm I actually agree with this decision..Blocking the network for few hours might prevent any horrifying act however the downside is, if something happens somewhere, e.g people getting injured in gun fire (which usually happens in Chand raat) , it’ll be hard to get those victims to the hospitals etc…

    • A Bomb can be made from organic fertilizers, sugar, potatos, diesel, and so many other house hold items, what about blocking them as well?

      Can this be done only with a GSM phone and not with CDMA or WiMax CPE offering Telephoney service? Or a remote control?

      • Malik was removed from FIA service on corruption charges, I am surprised why he wasn’t removed from service for his incapibility and lack of skill to work in such an organization.He doesn’t has a slightest idea that there are hundreds of other ways to detonate a bomb and not just a GSM SIM card, but names and fame that you brought to this country already you are only adding to it. A failed government with not at all capable people to handle ANY situation but in fact doing everything to increase the unrest.

      • I agree with you. Our so-called elected rulers always find some way to punish the people of Pakistan for their crime of electing them, and it is what we deserve for electing these incompetent, corrupt, selfseeking people. All these stupid actions are mala-fide and attempts to hide their incompetence. Why the Interior Minister does not resign and hand over the charge to some other competent person? Is he the only Competent person among the 18 crore people and there is no other competent person available? Or better say it that he is holy cow of the Super Power like Shokat Aziz, who came, ruled and is no more living among us. “There is always a limit to serenity but no limit to Stupidity”.

  • Although a good action. But intelligence failure is the main reason behind it. Terrorists have most advanced communication system. If this prevention is for terrorism might will flop. So its a dire need to get into the black sheeps by intelligence rather then blocking the entire system.

  • Funny. The govt becomes helpless in eliminating and punishing terrorists – it rather releases them from jail despite all the evidence against them (Lal Masjid thugs and Malik Ishaq Jhangvi etc), yet it blocks cellphones. wah jee.

  • This can cause huge problems for unsuspecting general public. Why didn’t today’s newspapers or tv channels carry this announcement so that people could’ve been prepared. Imagine females or families, who are coming from other cities to home on chand raat, unable to contact their homes. Imagine people in accidents unable to call for help. If it was due to security situation then it should’ve been done for max one or two hours of eid prayers.

  • so it simply mean TTP is winning . they have compelled state of pakistan on back foot.this is what they want. win win situation for TTP

  • why don’t our security agencies use jammers at their important installations and use their ground intelligence as well

  • Why doesn’t our intelligence agencies work more efficiently rather than blocking communications systems! These are the days and time when people use to talk for hours to their relatives and family members who are out of country or in other cities. Moreover, I think Rehman Malik is only showing his interest in Mobile Networks. Sometimes he brings a horrifying NEWS; One SIM per NIC and sometimes bullsh*t like this. Its pathetic :/

  • This will only increase difficulties for common people…
    Cant terrorists do the bomb blasts before and after this duration???

  • This is not at all a good decision. This is the Paindo pana of Rehman Malik (Zardari ka Chota ______) intehai chawal pana hai. Iss se konse terrorist attack rukne hain?
    Security measures khudh thik nai ink to bare ai hain ….. ALLAH Zardari or osk ________ ko otha le (Aameen)

    (comment edited)

  • It makes no sense, Is this to prevent people from wishing there loved ones on this special day????? What about the Sons daughters who are away from their families what about the kids whose father are not in Pakistan? What sense does that makes?

    • Dear Anza its better to use ptcl landline, we shold follow the instructions of the law enforcement agencies. These are for our benefit as a nation.

      • — These are for our benefit as a nation.

        I suppose you think electricity load shedding, gas load shedding, high crime rates, poor police response, poor medical facilities, rental power stations, traffic blocked for VIP movement, are also all for our benefit as a nation?

        Grow up.

        • Yes,
          Imagine when a talented leader is killed like a dog in the middle of the road by terrorists who will replace him?
          Imagine you get electricity 24/7, you will misuse this facility, Govt. will pay to RPP or IPPs, they will take our money out of the country,
          Imagine a quick police response, that will require that we replace our police force with a talented ,young professional force, but you will make current ones jobless.

          • They can go beg in the streets. If they have a job they should do it. Why should I pay their salaries and get nothing in return?

  • Fools if some mischief makers like taliban want to communicate they would communicate over the satellite phones not some silly mobile networks…..the interior ministry is simply making a fool out of itself and people around.

  • i am very depressed with all this happening around, i wish and pray to ALLAH to forgive us for all what we done with this country in last 65 years and give us once again a prosper PAKISTAN; we promise not to make this country again to this worst level.
    Currently , we have nothing left..Terrorism, Law n order at all time worst condition(street Crime), power issues, unemployment, poor foreign relations, and now no mobile service during CHAND raat & EID day…
    Think where we are heading…i think we are heading towards total colapes and failure.
    “Please fight for your rights”

  • I think They Have Less Knowledge , they don’t think about peoples.
    Atms Are not Working
    My EasyPaisa Transactions are still on Hold i do shopping from coming money..
    I am Unable To Login My Facebook , Gmail & Other Sites Because They all need Mobile Verification And In My Area There is zero Signal.
    Many Peoples are worried Why signals are not comming.
    Many buisness transactions are still on hold because of no mobile network coverage, If some Accident take place where no One Then What will man do, if some one have no ptcl commcation & in home some Emergency will Happen What will People Do , Emergency will be any health Problem Like Heart Attack .e.t.c Our Government i think don’t think about peoples who pay millions of taxes by purchasing Thing From Market or by recharging mobile cards , Taliban are too much educated they use many extras ways , i will tell you one of them , They use Ptcl Evo Usb to communicate with others via skype and any email ,social network , They are now more advance they also use satellite communication too..
    and in Karachi police captured peoples who are going to shopping on bike And Make a challan from them and in that case those 2 bikes who are innocent don’t know about that double sawari is banned or not and have less money so they called whom to come and pay challan to Police Officers , What our Government is doing , Our Government is still teasing peoples of Pakistanis, My Question For Government is What you want from us , Shall we die , What????
    please Open Mobile Networks All So I Get Easy Paisa And Start Doing Shopping & please Upload money to Atms So i withdraw Money From Atm To do my Eid hopping.

    • I completely agree with you. Actually this is just a marvelous starting of Load Shedding of mobile networks. Hopefully be a Pakistani we can suppose such Load Shedding in coming future. You will surely ROFL when you hear about 3G etc.

    • Dear this is a problem we all are facing, this is the govt that is selected/imposed on us by our own people. I think only way for reforms in policies is to elect the govt in upcoming elections that has will to do, not to distract

  • First of all this should not be disclosed. Secondly, if the service remains close, how much surety is there that there will be no terrorism due to this act?

  • Worst, Childish instruction from rehman malik. Making the lives of people more harder specially on chand raat. Imagine how people will stay in contact with each other. Also what about the emergency services etc.

    Another bad stunt of little brained rehman malik.

  • Poor Intelligence by Poor GOV & Army , time to Target Cellular Companies like Textile,Sugar,Steal etc and make them leave Pakistan, My Shutting down networks your have completed what Terrorists wanted to happen in this country during Eid Night , Abb bayshuk 4 Din Networks bund ker dou Rehman Malik your actually the real threat to this nation not the so called Terrorist groups

  • Good against amateur terrorists but i guess no big act of terrorism is without official support officially or unofficially. Who knows they will use messengers, gprs, wifi or even our police owned wireless system.

  • Good that they have another tool in their hands, otherwise they just used to ban doubling on bikes lolz. Lo & Behold they can cut you off from the rest of the world too. Who is punished by this? People or Terrorists. WOW Well Done RM Duh…

    PLUS Think of PTCL Landline collecting all revenue for tonight? Was it a decision wrt to security or another scandal in sleves of thieves?

  • World over security agencies use telecoms as the greatest tool to track, capture and break the terrorist networks, especially, when miscriants are supposed to be most hyper active. London Olympics and Hajj event 2011 are a great examples. Security agencies used these events so effectively but they had to work very hard 24/7 which perhaps we don’t want to do during Eid holidays. I don’t believe, Malik sahib is so naive to believe that banning telecoms is a good solution; if anything it may be counter-productive rather than of any help. I believe, Interior minister is one of the most professional minister; he knows telecoms and security lot better to fall into this trap by bureaucratic briefings. Perhaps, there is something more than what meets the eye in this move. There are some huge commercial net gainers from this blackout of Mobile communication at the time when every hour is made of gold; one can easily think PTCL’s fixed and wll networks must be getting lot of busy hours instead of idle hours which it had gotten used to.

  • Next step would be to lock up all Pakistan and terrorsists would fail miserably as they would find no targets to kill…

  • i can make detonator with remote control toy car… we should stop its sale too…
    i can even make detonator with light sensitive diode… cost 1rp… banned it too…
    even simple switch can do the job…

    you see mr. rehman malik… All your efforts are making to evolve… to become more powerful.. it would be more better if we can adjust our policies… bring jobs, give people reason to live rater to die… benazeeer income support.. yeah i know.. make us beggar.. or worst.. where is one’s self-respect when u make them live on charity… i love my country.. but you know ppl like you making it hard to live within day by day….
    its been four month i am out of job… to be very honest i did thought i can make easy money by doing bad jobs and so on… but my father never educated me for this… i tried every inch.. an engineer, post graduate and what can i find? 25,000 job… that can’t even repay my car fuel… after eid i may leave this country… i need family to run mr. rehman malik… keep closing doors on ur ppl.. we will see you in afterlife… be prepared for judgement day… give reasons to Allah…
    democracy sucks, and this is not what i say.. even common man in America says that…

  • lol kitne frustrated han log , bacheyon ko eid mubarak ke msg na bheg pane par !!!
    kitne ke lambe chore lecture dedo , wagha sab ke yehe hai !!!!!

  • Those who supports this cut down are the main people who encourage our democratic government to take such stupid actions. Be prepared I say just like pillion riding ban soon cellular bans will be usual too. And we will do nothing. I enjoy iMessage so this ban doesn’t really affected me but still I pay for the service so I am expecting returns too.

  • I think the _______ R.Malik should better impose a “curfew” on all cites rather imposing a ban on cellular service.

    This act just shows how helpless our government and agencies are in front of terrorists.

    He is the most stupid man on this planet I ever noticed. What will happen after the current restriction would lift up?? will the terrorists be freed to blast??

    What happened in Kamra some days ago????? there was a threat of attack but still they could`nt stop it properly???

    I appeal to all if anybody can kill this________ R.Malik the “Charlie Chaplen of 2012.”

  • Even the internet is acting weird…. esp PeeTCL…
    anyone else facing the problem? I’m getting only 32KB on 1mbps connection and it takes too long to connect….
    Ye sab Pakistan mei hi kyun hotA hai

  • No access to rescue 1122 emergency services from outside !!!
    NO access to Police 15 in case of road crimes !!!
    No way to call emergency doctors if they are not near some landlines or home..
    All GSM based vehicle tracking devices total failure..
    No way to keep track of families / children / specially teenagers..on chandraat

    Interesting : Intelligence agencies knew soo much that “exactly” what kind of bombs will be used..Which cities will be targeted .. and how many etc etc but they can not simply capture those terrorists.. funny.. shows how lame this scam is..

    Rizwan Saeed


  • Just for the information sake its better to add this to the article.

    ‘All emergency numbers will still work even if you have no network or network is blocked.’

    Lots of people might never trying reaching emergency numbers thinking they have no network so I’d request you to please add that just-in-case.

  • _________ AND CORRUPT AS WELL AS INEFFICIENT RULERS…………………. Is this the way you will run this country? You are RUINING it all. Son of Big______

    (comment edited)

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