Pakistan bans New Year’s celebrations

Pakistan interim Prime Minister, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, made a significant announcement, declaring a ban on New Year’s celebrations across the country. This decision was explicitly made to stand in solidarity with the distressed population of Gaza.

Kakar, in his national address, stressed the importance of exhibiting solidarity with the Palestinians and suggested observing the New Year with restraint and compassion in light of the ongoing turmoil.

Kakar referenced the challenging situation in Palestine, highlighting the distressing conditions in Gaza. Reports from Gaza’s health ministry indicated a significant toll of over 20,000 casualties, notably including women and children. The conflict has led to the displacement of approximately 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants, with expectations of further displacement due to escalated ground operations by Israel.

Expressing criticism toward the actions of Israeli forces, Kakar condemned what he described as excessive violence and injustice. He specifically highlighted the tragic impact on children, noting an estimated 9,000 child fatalities since the commencement of Israel’s bombardment in October. Kakar expressed Pakistan collective concern and sorrow over this.

Kakar also mentioned Pakistan’s aid contributions to Palestine, having sent two aid packages with plans for a third in progress. He emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to raising global awareness about the situation of Palestinians. The country remains steadfast in its resolve to mitigate the violence in Gaza, pledging ongoing advocacy efforts for the Palestinian cause on international platforms.

Pakistan typically experiences modest New Year celebrations, partly influenced by Islamic groups within the country that have historically sought to limit these festivities using various approaches, including the use of force. This cultural context adds significance to Kakar’s decision to impose a ban on New Year celebrations as a symbolic gesture of support for Palestine.

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