Misleading headline being used as clickbait ahead of Diwali

Province-wide holiday announced for the Hindu community on occasion of the annual Diwali festival


Claim: The Government of Sindh has announced a public holiday on 4 November.

Fact: The Sindh government has indeed announced that 4 November will be a holiday to mark the annual Diwali festival. However, the holiday applies only to Hindu employees of the provincial government.

On 1 November 2021, claims that the Government of Sindh had announced a holiday on 4 November emerged on Facebook and other social media platforms, with the posts linking to various websites that carried the news with the following headline:

“4 نومبر کو عام تعطیل کا اعلان! نوٹیفیکیشن جاری”
[Public holiday on 4 November! Notification issued]

The posts shared by pages such as News Capital, G News Network, Subah News Network, and NS News garnered significant traction. The websites that reported on the topic claimed a notification was issued by the Government of Sindh regarding a 4 November holiday.

The news went viral quickly, with the News Capital’s post performing more than 50 times better than other similar posts.

Soch Fact Check received a link to one of the websites that shared the news for verification and checked whether the Sindh government had in fact issued such a notification.

Soch Fact Check found a copy of the notification dated 28 October 2021 and issued by Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah. It states, “The Government of Sindh declares Thursday 04th November, 2021 as Holiday for Hindu community on the occasion of ‘Diwali’ throughout the province of Sindh.”

The notification was also shared by journalist Zia Ur Rehman, as well as news outlets such as Dunya News Urdu, Samaa English, The Nation, and News One, among others.

It is important to note that the websites that reported the news did not mention that the holiday is for Hindu government employees only. This may have been to attract readers through clickbait headlines that exaggerated the impact and scale of the announcement.

The public relation officer (PRO) to Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, Farhat Imtiaz Janwiri, confirmed to Soch Fact Check over the phone that the holiday is only for Hindu employees of the provincial government.

Conclusion: The Government of Sindh has announced that 4 November will be a holiday to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali but it is applicable only to Hindu employees of the provincial government.

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