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Pakistan PM announces ‘strict ban’ on New Year celebrations. Here’s why

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Pakistan caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Thursday declared a ban on the New Year celebration in the country as a gesture of solidarity with the people of war-torn Gaza. In an address to the nation, Kakar urged to show solidarity with the Palestinians and exhibit sobriety and humility at the New Year.

Christians devotees take part in a parade along a road ahead Christmas celebrations, in Islamabad on December on December 5, 2023.(AFP)
Christians devotees take part in a parade along a road ahead Christmas celebrations, in Islamabad on December on December 5, 2023.(AFP)

“Keeping in mind the seriously concerning situation in Palestine and to show solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters, there will be a strict ban by the government on holding any kind of event for New Year,” he said.

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More than 20,000 Palestinians, majority of them women and children, have been killed since the start of the war, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza. The ongoing war has already driven around 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people from their homes and with Israel expanding its ground offensive, more Gazans are expected to be displaced.

Kakar alleged that the Israeli forces have “crossed all limits of violence and injustice” with around 9,000 children dead since the Israeli bombardment began on October 7.

“The whole Pakistani nation and the Muslim world are in a sheer state of anguish over the massacre of innocent children and genocide of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.”

He said Pakistan had sent two aid packages to Palestine, with a third one in preparation. Kakar also highlighted Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinian people on global platforms and affirmed the country’s commitment to continuing these efforts to halt the bloodshed perpetrated by Israel.

Pakistan’s New Year celebrations are traditionally not huge due to the influence of Islamic groups who try to stop the festivities through various methods, including the use of force.

(With inputs from agencies)

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