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The federal government announced on Friday that its offices will remain open six days a week.

As per a notification issued Friday (today), working hours from Monday to Thursday and on Saturday will be from 8am to 3pm, with a half hour lunch/prayer break at 1pm. Meanwhile, the working hours for Friday will be 8am till 1pm.

Earlier, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said office hours for Friday, May 6 will be from 9am to 6pm with a prayer/lunch break from 1pm to 2:30 pm. These timings will also be followed by all banks and financial institutions.

According to the SBP, instructions on regular office timings will be issued subsequently.

After assuming office last month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said government offices will only shut for one day in the week instead of two, and will open at 8am instead of 10 am.

He said the PM’s Office and government-run offices will start work at sharp 8am instead of 10am, and there will be only one official weekly holiday on Sunday.

Previously both Saturday and Sunday were off.

Following this, bank employees staged a demonstration in front of the SBP head office urging the government and the regulator to revert to old timings.

Scores of employees representing different banks thronged the II Chundrigar Road, the ‘Wall Street’ of Pakistan, expressing their displeasure at the announcement.

The decision has also been met with criticism on social media with many stating that such a decision at a time of rising costs could be counter-productive.