ISLAMABAD: Residents of Rawalpindi and Islamabad faced mobile network shutdowns earlier during the evening on October 23, 2017 owing to a musical concert at Parade Ground.
As per detail, the cellular networks were disconnected owing to a musical concert organized by Pakistan Army as part of “Pakistan Motor Rally”.
Surprisingly, no notification from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) or Ministry of Interior was issued about the cellular network shutdown.
It has been learned that the Pakistan Motor Rally is being organized from October 21-31, 2017. More than 300 jeeps, 500 bikers and 150 vintage vehicles are taking part in it. The rally aims to promote adventure sports, cultural heritage and sports talent of Pakistan.
The network shutdowns were experienced when the rally reached Islamabad from Abbotabad to attend a musical concert at Parade ground on October 23, 2017.
It is to be noted that network shutdowns are often ordered by the federal government under sub-section-II of Section 54 of Telecom Act which states that during a war or hostilities against Pakistan by any foreign power or internal aggression or for the defence or security of Pakistan, the federal government shall have preference and priority in telecommunication system over any licensee”.
Earlier during September 29-October 01, cellular services remained suspended due to Ashura in different cities across Pakistan.
Rights activists have long condemned cellular network shutdowns and deemed it a violation of citizens’ fundamental rights.
Talal Raza is a Program Manager at Media Matters for Democracy. He has worked with renowned media organizations and NGOs including Geo News, The Nation, United States Institute of Peace and Privacy International.