Traffic jam, Mitchelle’s jam, Music jam, and now Mobile jam!

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Our beloved, capable, and informed minister to interior, Senator Rehman Malik strikes us with his awesomeness once again. The cell phone customers residing in Karachi was shocked to observe that mobile services has been banned in the city without any prior notice. But, this is not the first time we’re facing such situation, are we? Sen. Rehman Malik has taken such steps in the past to “prevent terror attacks in the city”.

But, is Sen. Malik right? Does banning cellular services and pillion riding reduce the probability of a terrorist attack? The answer, simply, is NO! I, after thinking a lot about this issue, have come to a conclusion that banning cellular services and pillion riding are just political acts by our government to give the impression of actually doing something about increasing occurrences of terrorism. What I believe Sen. Malik is doing, is giving us an illusion of security by banning the cellphones to prevent “remote trigging of suicide bombs”! Don’t agree with my assessment? Well, since when has pillion riding been banned in Karachi? Still, mobile are being snatched and people are being targeted despite the apparent ban on pillion riding.

As far as banning mobile phones are concerned, it doesn’t have any effect at all. A few weeks ago, two bomb blasts took place in DI Khan on the same day. During that day, mobile services were jammed in the country. So, terrorists went for an alternative: triggering a bomb in person! One bomb blast was suicide in nature while the other hone was hidden inside a TV and was triggered by using TV remote control. So much for banning cellular networks, eh?

Some of the cons of mobile ban in Pakistan:

  • Without cell phones, it feels like we’re back in the era when humans used to live in caves.
  • No way to communicate in case of emergency like calling an ambulance or reporting a crime.
    • After the blasts in DI Khan, it was reported that ambulances had difficulties in communicating because of the mobile ban.
  • Banning cell phones render car tracking services, useless. This in turn, mean more occurrences of car snatching.
  • And last but not the least, have some common sense for crying out loud! Terrorist attacks are plotted and planned months ahead and the organizations that plan them, have trained professionals. They are trained to work in isolation and it is obvious that they go dark (zero communication) days, even weeks before executing their attacks. You need to watch some action Hollywood movies to realize how this works!

What do you think about this issue? Leave your comments in the comments section of this article.

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Picture by: Bytes for All, Pakistan.

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2 thoughts on “Traffic jam, Mitchelle’s jam, Music jam, and now Mobile jam!

  1. Good post Basit. I’m still confused about the tech side of the issue. Cellphones are used to trigger the bomb, yes? How is that possible and how does banning cellular networks completely ensure the possibility of the elimination of that service? Is there no loophole that can cause the terrorists to do as they please during the mobile jam?

    I really wish someone could answer these questions for me.

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    • Yes, mobile phones are used to trigger bombs. The science here is simple: ringing a phone discharges electricity, a very small amount but enough to trigger a mixture that’s being used as a bomb (as well as highly explosive material, C4). So if anyone wants to trigger a bomb using a cellphone, they’d attach the phone to the bomb and call that number to trigger the bomb.
      Banning typically means that the cellular companies would power down the cell phone towers that provide cellular signals. But that does not mean that a cellphone can’t be used as a trigger. What if someone turned on Wi-Fi in the smartphone that’s attached to a bomb and the trigger guy calls the target phone using Skype or Viber. That’d render the same results, i.e. triggering of the bomb!
      And since mobile ban has become a common practice, don’t you think the terrorists would think of alternatives? Like in DI Khan, they triggered the bomb using a TV remote control. So, at the end of the day, banning cell phones or any technology for that matter, won’t produce desired results.

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