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My take on shutdown of mobile phone networks


It is not regarding how good or bad our security or intelligence agencies are. It is not regarding whether our security authorities would be able to stop any possible terrorist attack over this Eid Al Fitar or not.


It is actually regarding how quick our nation judges what is a smart move or what is a stupid move that is taken by national security strategists.


Since today it was announced that Ministry of Interior has directed private wireless service providers to shutdown their network from 8 pm to 11 am on first Shawaal in some parts of Pakistan including Karachi; our genius cum talented youth and media persons started criticizing it.


Yes it is not a good move if it is seen without a valid context. If it is to bulldoze the public mobilization then it is indeed the worst of moves.


But if national security agencies forecast a big terror happening then they can opt it as one out of most publically unpopular strategies.


Yes anyone can blame Pakistan being so backward but let me give you an example from the most liberal country being considered by people in our ranks.


United States of America developed SOP 303 that focuses “Emergency Wireless Protocols” in 2005 - 2006.


I will not go in the detail but according to a Tony Dokoupil in one of his articles:


"In time of national emergency," SOP 303 gives “State Homeland Security Advisors, their designees, or representatives of the DHS Homeland Security Operations Center” the power to call for “the termination of private wireless network connection within an entire metropolitan area.” The decision is subject to review by the National Coordinating Center, a government-industry group responsible for the actual mechanics of the shutdown. The NCC is supposed to “authenticate” the shutdown via “a series of questions.” But SOP 303 does not specify, at least not publicly, what would constitute a “national emergency,” or what questions the NCC then asks “to determine if the shutdown is a necessary action.”


In response to this SOP U.S. federal authorities turned off cellular network services in New York’s Lincoln, Holland, Queens, and Battery Park tunnels in 2005 after London attacks.


In 2009, as President Obama was inaugurated, federal authorities used special equipment to jam signals in downtown Washington, citing the threat of remote-controlled bombs. Last summer, in response to the less catastrophic risk of a potentially violent protest following a police shooting, San Francisco transit officials shut off underground wireless service for three hours—a move the ACLU has said was the first and only known time a government agency in the U.S. has blocked electronic communications as a way to quell social unrest.


It was only one out of many instances from the developed world and the recent history.


I would request all Pakistanis to think before you judge or say anything. I am sure that every one of us are not so qualified to understand security management issues. So be lesser aggressive in saying what you are not expert in.


Yes as our country is in the state of war we cannot say that any move will ensure that nothing worst will happen. But the steps that security managers of the country takes doesn’t necessarily would be stupid or idiotic.


I hope our security agencies would take the best of arrangements for safe Eid Al Fitar this year. But the intelligence infrastructure of the country has to respond properly otherwise no move can be so effective in isolation.


I wish everyone in Pakistan “A VERY HAPPY EID”.


Regardless of the demerits in our government and security forces, you have to cooperate with them for Pakistan.


They must have got any big lead otherwise they cannot get anything out of stopping you to sms and call your friends and people in the joyous moments of Eid.


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Mr. Omer

Mr. Omer [1982 born] started  his professional career as a commercial / investment banker after achieving Gold Medal in Finance at master level from University of Karachi in 2006.

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