- The network interruption is due to security concerns raised by TLP protests.
- Reports suggest that the provincial government is preparing for a forceful crackdown on violent protesters.
The Punjab home department has suspended the cellular and internet services in several areas of Lahore amid security concerns due to violent protests by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) activists.
There are reports that the provincial government is preparing for a forceful crackdown against the protesters in the provincial capital. The development has come hours after the federal government approved the blacklisting of TLP as a terrorist organization under 11B (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
However, the unannounced move has created a nuisance for citizens. People are complaining that the authorities should have informed in advance to avoided inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of consumers.
On Wednesday, the Interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, had announced the blockage of cellular and internet coverage in areas affected by TLP protests.
Since then, several areas of Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad have been facing network outages. It all started Monday noon when the Punjab government arrested TLP chief, Saad Hussain Rizvi, the son of late firebrand cleric, Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi from Lahore.
A party spokesperson said that Rizvi’s arrest was aimed at sabotaging the protest call for April 20. Soon after the development, protests and violent clashes between TLP activists and the police broke out all over the country, in which, at least four people have been killed, including two policemen, and nearly 500 people are injured.
To control the deteriorating situation, the government decided to blacklist the religio-political party.
The Interior Minister announced this on Wednesday and forwarded a summary in this regard to the federal cabinet. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet approved it on Thursday and initiated the process to blacklist TLP as a terrorist organization.
Earlier on Wednesday, Interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid, said on a news channel that the decision was taken after detailed deliberation and was in consultation with all stakeholders.