Cell service suspended in Karachi before bomb

Dylan Bushell-Embling
19 Nov 2012
Daily News

The Pakistani government had briefly suspended mobile services in the city of Karachi on Friday, in an attempt to prevent last night's bombing.

A bomb blast Sunday night killed three people and injured at least 18, although a bomb squad was able to somewhat mitigate the potential damage. The bomb was attached to a motorcycle.

Security agencies may have been anticipating such an incident, as on Friday they briefly suspended mobile services and banned the use of motorbikes during the day in Karachi as well as Quetta, Khaleej Timesreported.

But the Sindh High Court subsequently declared the suspension and the motorcycle ban illegal and ordered them immediately overturned.

The issue of balancing national security with the communications needs of millions of people has been on the agenda in Pakistan for some time.

The suspension came the week Pakistan reportedly set the stage for a ban on MNP and retail SIM sales due to concerns it is becoming difficult to trace suspects by their mobile phones.

It also builds on prior service suspensions on three separate occasions, which cost operators an estimated 3.2 billion rupees ($33.4 million) in lost revenue.

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