All mobile phone services, including mobile data services, have been shut down in various areas of Pakistan due to protests. Consequently, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and Gujranwala will face suspension of mobile services today from 8AM to 7PM.
Information Minister, Mr Fawad Chaudhry, notified the public of this in a tweet:
Mobile services of Lahore Pindi ISL and Gujranwala Will be blocked from 8 am till Mughrib
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 1, 2018
This has been done in a time when the country is strife with protests due to the Asia Bibi case. Protesters had called for a country-wide strike for Friday 2nd November 2018.
However, various parts of Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad already faced no mobile phone services for over 36 hours regardless.
Cellular coverage was already down around a 5 km radius in Faizabad (Rawalpindi). The area is considered a highly likely strategic location for the protesters to gather after the release of Asia Bibi.
In addition, this could extend beyond 7PM or spread to other regions depending upon the coming law and order situation across Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan warned protesters not to take law into their own hands or there would be repercussions.
The government attempted to negotiate with protesters on Thursday. Unfortunately, that proved unsuccessful. According to reports, the federal and provincial governments are now preparing to take on the protesters to renew normalcy.