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PM, finance minister discuss relief for people

Government employees to continue working six days a week

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday held a meeting with Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail and discussed measures for providing relief to the people.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction about the present price of sugar and said its price has come down after three years, bringing relief to the people. He ordered the provision of a cash credit to Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) for buying wheat. Also, the federal government on Friday announced that government offices would continue to function six days a week.

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According to a notification issued by the Establishment Division, the timings from Monday to Thursday and for Saturday would be from 8 am to 3 pm while the prayer break would be from 1 pm to 1:30 pm. On Fridays, office timings would be from 8 am to 1 pm. Earlier on Friday, PM Shehbaz urged the nation to “get back to work” after enjoying the Eid holidays. “Hope you all had a wonderful time with your families during the Eid holidays and rested well … Let us get back to work now!” he said on Twitter.

Soon after assuming charge, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had abolished the two-day weekend and revised the country’s official work timings for Ramazan. Speaking at an iftar dinner at the PM House, he had explained his rationale, saying he had taken the decision based on the economic situation of the country.

“Even developed countries cannot afford two weekly holidays [Saturday and Sunday], so how can we, with our economy in crisis, avail two holidays in a week,” he had asked, adding that the economic situation his government had inherited from the PTI-led regime required everyone to work hard even on Sundays. The government had also asked the State Bank of Pakistan to apply the decision in the banking sector, which led to bankers across the country protesting the move.

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At the time, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had justified the move by saying that Ramazan had fewer working hours in a day and that several days would be non-working due to Eid holidays. He had said that he would request the prime minister to revisit the decision post-Eid, adding that he was “hopeful”. As the four-day Eid holidays ended Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged the general public to get into the work mode following their festive time.

“Let us get back to work now,” the prime minister tweeted as the nation celebrated the Eid on the public holidays announced for May 2-5 (Monday-Thursday). The prime minister hoped that the people would have spent happy times with their loved ones during the Eid holidays besides taking rest. “Hope you all had a wonderful time with your families during the Eid holidays and rested well,” he said. The prime minister, who spent the Eid holidays in Lahore, travelled to Islamabad early Friday to resume work at his office.

Separately, former Inspector General of Punjab Police Zulfiqar Cheema Friday called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and congratulated him on the assumption of office. During the meeting, they also discussed the law and order situation in the country as well as police reforms.

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