ISLAMABAD – Pakistan's interior minister says the government will suspend cell phone service in most parts of the country over the next two days to prevent attacks against Shiite Muslims over a key religious holiday.
Rehman Malik said Friday the suspension would begin at 6 a.m. on Saturday.
Saturday and Sunday are the most important days in the holy month of Muharram. Sunday is Ashoura, which commemorates the seventh century death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.
Sunni extremists often target Shiites during Muharram, especially on Ashoura, and frequently use cell phones to detonate bombs.
The Sunni-Shiite schism over the heir to the Prophet Muhammad dates back to the seventh century.