SBP “categorically” rejects all such rumors, spokesperson says no plan to discontinue PKR 5,000 banknote


Claim: The PKR 5,000 note will be discontinued and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has announced the date that this move will take place.

Fact: The SBP has not announced a decision to discontinue the PKR 5,000 banknote and, in fact, has no plans to do so in the future. In an email to Soch Fact Check, a SBP spokesperson said the central bank “categorically rejects all such rumors.”

On 22 October 2021, reports stating that the “SBP makes [an] announcement” regarding the demonetization of the PKR 5,000 banknote emerged on the Internet. The Facebook page to first share the news was ‘Qool,’ which has more than 323,000 page likes and has the same username as the website it appears to have taken the story from, ‘Qahani.’ The report is titled as follows:

“آخر وہ دن آہی گیا۔۔۔ 5 ہزار کا نوٹ کب بند ہونےجا رہاہے؟ سٹیٹ بینک نے اعلان کردیا”
[Finally that day has arrived… When is the 5,000 note going to be discontinued? SBP makes announcement]

The same report was then published by multiple news-gathering websites, which, as Soch Fact Check has previously noted, tend to post pieces under clickbait headlines. These websites often have identical or near-identical text in their stories and, although not certain, appear to be run by the same people or organizations.

While the headline of the report in question pertains to the future of the PKR 5,000 note, the text itself touches on a variety of other issues, including the number of banknotes required to make up a bundle worth PKR 100,000, prize bonds, court comments about politicians’ assets, the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) recommendations for Pakistan, and a suggestion made earlier this year by Shabbar Zaidi, the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) former chairperson, that the PKR 5,000 note be demonetized.

Soch Fact Check ran a CrowdTangle analysis, which revealed that the claim about the note being discontinued has garnered over 10,000 interactions across more than 60 posts containing links to different news-gathering sites. The claim is continuing to spread on Facebook, according to CrowdTangle, with a 23 October post by G News Network performing almost 15 times better than its counterparts.

Reports with the same headline were also shared on a page called ‘Troll Pm Imran Khan Haters’, a Facebook group with hundreds of thousands of members, and verified Facebook page Daily Ausaf.

Soch Fact Check investigated the claim after seeing a dubious report on the topic published by NS News. The reports are false. The SBP has no plans to discontinue the PKR 5,000 note.

In response to an email by Soch Fact Check, the SBP’s official spokesperson Abid Qamar said, “[The] SBP categorically rejects all such rumors and clarifies that it has no plans of discontinuation of PKR 5000 banknote.”

Prior to that, another top SBP official who asked to remain anonymous told Soch Fact Check that “no such thing whatsoever” is being considered “even in the distant future.”

“All such rumours are baseless,” the official said, adding that the SBP had previously issued a press release denying similar reports. “Sometimes, there are reports that the SBP is [printing] a PKR 10,000 note; neither is a PKR 10,000 note being issued nor PKR 5,000 being discontinued,” the official added.

The PKR 5,000 banknote has been in the headlines numerous times over the years.

In 2016, then-PPP senator Osman Saifullah Khan proposed banning the currency note as FBR ex-boss Zaidi suggested earlier this year. Reports claiming the PKR 5,000 note will be discontinued — including this one by Baaghi TV — have also surfaced intermittently, including in 2018 when the SBP categorically rejected the claims and advised people “not to pay heed to any such rumors which are aimed at creating unnecessary hype and anxiety.”

Conclusion: The SBP has “categorically” rejected the rumours about the demonetization of the PKR 5,000 banknote; it has not announced any such decision nor does it plan to do so in the future. One official termed the reports claiming otherwise as “baseless.”

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