ISLAMABAD: The federal government approved on Wednesday two holidays on account of Aushra (Muharram 9 and 10), a notification from the Cabinet Division said.
The holidays will fall on August 9 and 8 as Pakistanis and Muslims across the globe will observe the religious occasion with grief and sorrow.
The holy month of Muharram-ul-Haram, marking the beginning of the new Islamic year, 1444 AH, fell on July 31, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony said.
As large gatherings are expected during the holy month, the National Command and Operation Centre has restricted the elderly and children from attending the gatherings and majalis during Ashura — in a bid to keep them safe from COVID.
Following are the guidelines for holding gatherings and processions:
- COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures i.e mask-wearing, social distancing and use of sanitisers/hand washing should be adhered to
- Organising committees should make arrangements for all SOPs
- Zakirs and participants should be vaccinated against COVID-19
- Venue for conduct of Majalis should be open and spacious with proper
- ventilation arrangements.
- Wearing of masks and maintenance of social distancing is mandatory
- during majalis and Processions. Availability of masks and sanitisers/hand washing
- Controlled participation according to capacity of venues and avoidance of overcrowding
- Duration of majalis and processions should be curtailed.
- Majalis where SOPs cannot be effectively implemented such as
- homes and private gatherings should be discouraged.
- Elderly above 65 years, children and co-morbid may be sensitized to
- attend Majalis at home through live streaming.
- Proper arrangements for cleaning venues with chlorine before and after the events
- Display of COVID-19 SOPs and precautions at prominent places.
- SOPs compliance by employing volunteer scouts.
- Arrangements for food and drinks in spacious and ventilated place.
- Emphasis on use of disposable utensils; preference on pre-packaged boxes for distribution of food.
- Avoiding overcrowding at food distribution points/locations.
- No handshake and embracing.
Areas of Focus
Some of the aspects meriting necessary actions at the federal and federating units level include the following:
- Messaging by religious clerics for uniform implementation of SOPs /guidelines proposed by NCOC.
- Strict enforcement of SOPs by civil administration.