ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday declined declaring November 9 as a public holiday and asked the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe the motives behind the circulation of fake notifications being circulated on the social media in this connection.

The ministry has asked the FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing to probe the circulation of fake notifications on social media declaring November 9 as a public holiday on the eve of birthday of great philosopher and poet Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal, a spokesman of the Interior Ministry said.

The ministry has not issued any such notifications, he said.

The two notifications dated November 4 and November 7, declared as fake by the government, said that the Ministry of Interior had approved November 9 as public holiday reversing its earlier decision not to observe holiday on Iqbal Day.

As the notification went viral on social media for some days, it caused confusion among the general public, government departments and school going children whether there would be holiday today or not.

The Ministry of Interior took some days to take notice of these fake notifications. It denied issuing such notifications here on Tuesday and referred the matter to the Cyber Crime Wing for further probe.

Last year, the government had abolished the public holiday on Iqbal Day in a bid to shorten the list of public holidays to make the working of government departments smooth and steady.

However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government had declined to implement the decision of the federal government and had announced a public holiday.

Prior to last year, November 9 had been celebrated as “Iqbal Day” to mark the birthday of Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal who had given the idea of creation of Pakistan.

Under the business rules of the federal government, the Ministry of Interior has to maintain list of public holidays throughout the country and it can decrease or increase the number of public holidays through separate notifications.

Staff Reporter from Quetta adds: Government of Balochistan has announced public holiday for all educational institutes in the province to mark the birth anniversary of Allama Iqbal on Wednesday (today) while all government offices will remain open.