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Inquiry into fake holiday notification ordered

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has ordered an inquiry into the issuance of a fake notification about the public holiday on Wednesday on account of Iqbal Day.

According to a spokesman for the interior ministry, the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will investigate the matter.

He announced that there would be no public holiday on Nov 9 and the government offices and schools would remain open.

The fake notification was doing the rounds on social media for about a week and was circulated again on Monday after amending the date of issuance to Nov 7.

Purported to have been signed by Atif Aziz, Deputy Secretary, Law II, it said: “It is notified for general information that 9th November 2016 (Wednesday) shall be public holiday on the occasion of Iqbal Day.

The above press release may kindly be published in all major English and Urdu dailies both in national and regional levels and also be given wide publicity through electronic media.”

The fake information was used by some private television channels, creating confusion, and many private schools announced a holiday. Many believe that the schools that open will have thin attendance on Wednesday because of the confusion and the case with the government offices is also likely to be similar.

The government of Sindh has announced closure of educational institutions in the province on Wednesday. However, there is confusion in other provinces — schools will also remain closed in Quetta but open in the rest of Balochistan. Some private schools and institutions will remain closed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while the public schools will remain open. A few schools in Punjab will keep their doors shut while a majority will have classes as usual.

Iqbal Day was on the calendar of national public holidays a few years ago, but it was amended to strike off several holidays, including Nov 9.

Published in Dawn November 9th, 2016

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