Islamabad, Nov 25 (IANS) A proposed ban on motorbikes, suspension of cell phone services and other such measures the government has adopted to combat terror "simply amount to the absurd", said a Pakistani daily Sunday.
An editorial in the News International said that for the fifth time this year, the country has been thrown into a state of disarray with cellular phone services blocked in at least 49 cities across the country and, in some cases, internet services also affected.
"To add to the confusion, cell phone networks continued to operate in Peshawar on the provincial government's request for the most time on Saturday," it said.
The daily said the actual shutdown "still comes as something of a shock for the millions dependent on mobile phones or internet−based services for all kinds of social and professional activities".
It referred to Interior Minister Rehman Malik as saying that 90 percent of bomb blasts are caused by remote control devices activated by cell phones, and also that these services are used by terrorists for communication purposes.
"There is no way of knowing how far this claim is true," said the editorial.
Despite the ban, Saturday saw a procession in Dera Ismail Khan targeted by an IED blast, killing at least seven people.
"Clearly the cell phone shutdown did not affect the terrorists, leading to scepticism regarding the deterrent value of the bizarre bans the government seems to consider counter−terrorism efforts. It would be safe to assume too that the suicide blasts we have seen in the past are planned well in advance and can be carried out even if extremist forces are deprived of their mobile phones," said the daily.
The editorial went on to say that citizens who have no mala fide purposes in mind are being "punished for no fault of theirs".
"It is necessary we now deal with this situation using logic and pragmatism, putting matters into perspective. There have to be other ways to deal with terrorism.
"The proposed ban on motorbikes, suspension of cell phone services and other such measures the government has adopted simply amount to the absurd. There is no reason why the people of the country should suffer because the government cannot control terrorism," it stressed.