The federal government employees observed Saturday as an “on day” as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif abolished the weekly holidays to only one immediately after assuming the charge of coveted office. Shehbaz Sharif took oath as prime minister on April 11 and declared a six-day working week emphasising the employees to work day and night for the progress and prosperity of the country. The daily office duty timings were also curtailed to 8 am instead of 10 am. The employees have expressed mixed reaction over cancellation of Saturday holiday, saying that the decision is set to increase their travel expenses, besides affecting routine life and increasing domestic chores. “My children are perturbed due to curtailment of Saturday off as they used to visit various parks and recreational places and eateries on every weekends,” said Ali Reza, a government employee. “Thousands of commuters travel between Rawalpindi and Islamabad and within the federal capital on working days and elsewhere in the federal capital,” said Shehzad Kayani a commuter adding that if Saturday was on it not only increase fuel cost but cause traffic mess on the roads as most of the commuters have to travel an average of 30 to 60 km daily. “The office expense including electricity consumption and others also increased due to increase in working days,” he added. He noted that the employees had to work 40 hours per week and now with this order the working hours will remain same making no tangible difference in official work. Reacting to the measures, the all government employees grand alliance (AGEGA) also held a protest the other day outside the Ministry of Finance building in the Q-Block of the Pak Secretariat in Islamabad. The employees of all the federal ministries, departments, and divisions participated in the protest, demanding the withdrawal of the April 12 order that curtailed holidays for government employees. Business Community expressed resentment over government decision, saying that due to an additional working day it may affect the commercial activities as people used to visit markets on weekends. “During two day weekends most of the people finished their house chores in one day and go to the markets the 2nd day of weekend but after curtailing one day holiday public footfall would reduced that eventually affect the businesses,” said a trader.