Phone, internet links in Pakistan snapped for two hours
Internet and phone lines in many parts of Pakistan, including the capital and commercial hub of Karachi, were snapped for over two hours today ahead of the resumption of the trial of suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikar Muhammad Chaudhry.
The government denied it had suspended mobile phone and internet services, but users reported widespread disruption of services.
As authorities put in place strict security arrangements at the Supreme Court located next to Parliament here ahead of Chaudhry's appearance before the Supreme Judicial Council, international and mobile phone lines and internet links went dead.
This led to rumours that the government may have played a role in the disruption of telecommunications to ensure an information blackout.
The links were restored at around 1330 hours, about 90 minutes before Chaudhry's trial resumed. Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani said,"There is no major breakdown in the telecommuncations sector anywhere in Pakistan and in many parts of Islamabad, things are working fine. It may be a partial breakdown somewhere."
A Pakistan Telecommunications Authority official said a partial breakdown occurred after a line in Karachi caught fire and caused the disruption. "But it is not a major fault and there is no need to panic," the official said.