LAHORE - The network links of almost all the banks went down in most parts of the country yesterday, adding to peoples’ problems ahead of Eidul Fitr.

The pensioners were special victims as most of the 1,400 branches of the notorious National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) saw people crowding around the ATM machines, waiting for hours and returning empty handed.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) the other day claimed to have made special arrangements to facilitate public for cash requirements and banking-related services during Ramazan and Eidul Fitr.

“To ensure uninterrupted availability of ATM services before Eid, the SBP has advised all commercial banks to adopt necessary measures for facilitation of general public,” a State Bank statement read.

It added that the ATM sites of commercial banks will be examined by inspectors of State Bank and verification teams of SBP-BSC field offices during the period 1st July 2016 till 10th July 2016to verify their operational status.

Pensioners started reaching banks at 8am but staffers locked the gates upon seeing the rush. Officials told them they would be taken care of after 12pm. Some cases of bribe were reported from Multan GPO, where no separate window was open for women.

According to a spokesperson for NBP, the branches are overburdened but all the pensioners would be entertained on Monday, just a couple of days before Eid.

The problem was not restricted to National Bank only and it were not just pensioners who faced troubles because of dysfunctional ATMs

"I was here to withdraw my salary. But now the bank staff is misbehaving," said a man standing outside a bank in Lahore. He said the ATMs ran out of cash and banks closed their doors to account holders.

In Lahore, Peshawar and Muzaffarabad, some customers staged demos and made an appeal to address the issue at the earliest.

The banks announced that they would remain open on Saturday after a State Bank notification ordered that cash be made available before Eid. They will remain closed from July 5 to Jul 8.