Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pakistan: Government Suspends Mobile Service During Muharram to Prevent Acts of Terrorism

According to The Associated Press, Pakistan's Interior Ministry announced on Friday (November 23) that the government will suspend mobile phone service virtually nationwide from 0600 hours on November 24 until 0600 hours on November 25, in order to prevent cellular-activated IEDs against Shiite Muslims during Muharram, which is especially important to Shiites.
Sunni extremists often target Shiites during Muharram, frequently using cell phones. Several bombings targeting Shiites earlier this week killed over a dozen people.
COMMENT: It should be noted that 90% of all IEDs detonated in Pakistan are activated through the use of mobile phones.

Local media criticized the government's action to suspend mobile service, considering how dependent most residents are on wireless devices, particularly those who have NO other form of communication, except through a cell phone. 

The Pakistani government's extreme action to prevent cellular-activated IED detonations underlines the importance of diplomatic and commercial entities and even individuals to have a redundant form of voice communications when cellular service is interrupted either by design or during a national emergency when mobile service ceases to function.

Alternative forms of communication include regional satellite-based telephones (SAT-PHONES), UHF-VHF, single-side band, HAM radio or computer-based satellite communications.