Pakistan announces six day holidays for Eid Al-Fitr

People shop from stalls in a market, after Pakistan started easing the lockdown as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Karachi, Pakistan May 11, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 17 May 2020

Pakistan announces six day holidays for Eid Al-Fitr

  • Pakistan’s official moon-sighting website says Eid will fall on Sunday, May 24
  • Due to coronavirus, all but essential businesses and shops to remain closed during holiday period

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has announced a six-day holiday period between May 22 to May 27 on account of Eid Al-Fitr, according to a statement released by the country’s interior ministry on Saturday.
During the holiday period, which will extend from Friday to Wednesday, all businesses, public spaces, community markets and shops have been directed to remain closed amid the coronavirus outbreak-- with some outlets selling essential items and medicines permitted to open, according to the statement.
In May last year, Pakistan’s minister for science and technology, Fawad Chaudhry, launched what he termed was Pakistan’s first official moon-sighting website and calendar which displays prominent Islamic events in the country over five years based on scientific evidence.
The ministry’s website marks Eid Al-Fitr in the country falling on Sunday, May 24 this year.
However, the national Ruet-e-Hilal committee is scheduled to meet on May 23 in Karachi for the Shawwal moon sighting as is tradition, according to the ministry of religious affairs.
Pakistan, which has been facing a surge in rates of coronavirus, began easing pandemic-related lockdowns last week with over 41,000 confirmed cases and 895 fatalities reported on Sunday. Public transportation has been opened up in some provinces amid the arrival of Eid, when traditionally, people return to their hometowns and visit relatives and friends.


Pakistan to pass new cybersecurity policy by December after Egyptian app's data breached

Updated 23 min 23 sec ago

Pakistan to pass new cybersecurity policy by December after Egyptian app's data breached

  • Bus-sharing app says data of more than 50 percent users breached in July
  • IT minister says working on legislation ‘for last many months’ to minimize future lapses

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Information Technology has said a national cybersecurity and personal data protection policy will be implemented by December this year once it is passed by parliament, after popular bus-sharing service Swvl said it had suffered a major security breach that comprised user data of over half its customers.
In April this year, Dubai based information security company Rewterz claimed the private data of 115 million Pakistani mobile users was up for sale on the dark web.
In the latest breach, Egyptian bus-sharing app Swvl has said the data of more than 50 percent of the company’s user base had been breached, according to Shahzeb Memon, Pakistan general manager for the service, who told Arab News Swvl became aware of the unauthorized access in the first week of July.
In light of such incidents, a bill “related to personal data protection will pass from the parliament very soon,” minister for IT Syed Amin ul Haque said, adding: “I am very hopeful that we will complete all procedures by December this year.”
“The ministry of IT is working on cybersecurity and data protection for the last many months,” he said. “We have drafted a bill for legislation which remained on our website for public viewing. We got feedback from the public and other stockholders from inside the country as well as abroad, including the United States.”
Haque said his ministry was in touch with several companies which had access to public data to ensure incidents like the Swvl breach not not happen in the future.
“We have established a committee in this regard which has people from the IT ministry and law enforcement agencies,” Haque said. “We will try that no such data breach should occur in the future.”
Swvl was founded in April 2017 and operates buses along fixed routes, allowing customers to reserve and pay for rides using an app. It has operations in many countries, including Egypt, Kenya and Pakistan, where it launched last year.
“The investigation into the breach is still underway, but at this stage, it is clear that the data which was compromised is restricted to names, email addresses, and phone numbers,” Swvl’s Memon said. “Rest assured that our investigation ensures that passwords and credit card information were not affected or exposed.”
“The vulnerabilities have been addressed,” he added, “and we are working tirelessly to make sure this doesn’t happen again, including deploying further additional security measures.”