Mobile services shut for second day in Pakistan for Li’s visit

ISLAMABAD (TIP): Mobile phone services were suspended in the Pakistani capital and nearby Rawalpindi for the second day on may 23 as part of extraordinary security measures put in place to ensure an incident-free visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang here. Officials announced the suspension of cellular services between 1 pm and 5 pm local time in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Yesterday, mobile services were suspended in the two cities from 10 am to 1 pm, causing inconvenience to thousands of people. Restrictions on mobile phone services are generally imposed in Pakistan to avert terror attacks as authorities have found that many blasts are triggered through cellphones. Roads in the heart of Islamabad were sealed when Premier Li went to the Parliament to address a special session of the Senate or Upper House. Army helicopters were used for surveillance over the federal capital.

Several other roads, including those near a five-star hotel where the Chinese leader and his delegation are staying, were also closed. Thousands of police and security personnel have been deployed here as part of the security arrangements for the high-profile visit. The security measures have inconvenienced residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and many people complained of being stuck in traffic snarls for hours in the scorching heat. Islamabad Traffic Police claimed roads were sealed only for VVIP movements and authorities were trying to divert traffic to alternative routes.

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