Pakistan is to suspend mobile phone services in most parts of the country today and tomorrow to prevent attacks against Shiite Muslims during a key religious commemoration.
Militants often detonate bombs using mobiles and the Pakistani government has implemented similar service suspensions in the past, but not on such a wide scale.
Saturday and Sunday are the most important days of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, which is especially important to Shiites.
Pakistani Shiites on Sunday observe the Ashoura, commemorating the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson. The Sunni-Shiite split over the true heir to Mohammed dates back to that era.
Several bombings targeting Shiites earlier this week killed over a dozen people.
The suspension was to begin at 6am today and run through the next day.