Pakistan cuts phones in hope of stopping attacks

ISLAMABAD Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:15pm IST

1 of 2. A policeman guards the entrance of the Yaadgar Hussain Mosque ahead of Ashura ceremony to mark the death of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, in Islamabad November 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan is suspending phone coverage in many cities this weekend, an important one in the Shi'ite Muslim calendar, after a series of bomb attacks on Shi'ites triggered by mobile phones.

Hardline Sunnis have threatened more attacks as the Shi'ite mourning month of Muharram comes to a climax. More than a dozen people have already been killed this week attending Muharram processions.

"All the blasts that occurred in the last 15 days were mobile phone-based," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters on Friday.

A suicide bomber killed himself and wounded two police officers near a Shi'ite procession in the northwestern city of Lakki Marwat on Friday.

Intelligence information indicates more attacks have been planned for the coming days in the capital city of Islamabad, Karachi and Quetta. Mobile phone service will be suspended for hours in the three cities and dozens of others over the weekend.

In Karachi, more than 5,000 police are expected to patrol the streets during Muharram events over the next two days, with hundreds more on alert.

"The army is on standby. If any untoward incident occurs, we will call them, if need be," Malik said.

Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala, where the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and his family members were killed.

Pakistani intelligence officials say extremist groups led by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have intensified their bombings and shootings of Shi'ites in the hope of triggering conflict that would pave the way for a Sunni theocracy in U.S.-allied Pakistan. (Reporting by Aisha Chowdhry and Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Record Deal

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Coal Industry

Coal Industry

India to allow foreign firms mine and sell coal - coal secretary.  Full Article | Related Story 

Ranbaxy in U.S.

Ranbaxy in U.S.

U.S. court overturns bid by Ranbaxy to block launch of rival generic drugs.  Full Article 

Edible Oil

Edible Oil

Indians get taste for branded edible oil as prices drop, incomes rise.  Full Article 

Financial Tech CEO

Financial Tech CEO

Financial Tech founder steps down as CEO   Full Article 

Canpotex Deal

Canpotex Deal

Canpotex signs potash sales deals to India  Full Article 

Tech Acquisition

Tech Acquisition

Tech Mahindra to buy U.S.-based network services operator for $240 million   Full Article 

Fired for Overbilling

Fired for Overbilling

Infosys unit's overbilling Apple led to exit of top execs - sources.  Full Article 

Real Estate Investment

Real Estate Investment

JM Financial subsidiary gets $87 mln from Vikram Pandit-led fund  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage