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Pakistani Mobile Networks Suspended Due To Security Fears

Mobile-phone networks were reported again functioning by August 20. (file photo)
Pakistani authorities temporarily shut down mobile phone networks in major cities in what officials describe as a move aimed at preventing Taliban attacks during celebrations for the biggest Muslim festival of the year.

The security measure went into effect on August 19 as millions of people were phoning friends and relatives with greetings for Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

State-run television quoted Interior Minister Rehman Malik as saying the government regretted the suspension but that it was necessary "due to the risk of terrorist attacks."

Authorities say they were worried that mobile devices could have been used to coordinate attacks or trigger bombs.

Networks were reported again functioning by August 20.

Pakistan's two largest cities -- Karachi and Lahore, and the troubled city of Quetta -- were among the regions where networks were shut down.

Based on reporting by AFP and