The federal government on Wednesday announced a two-day public holiday on account of Aushra (Muharram 9 and 10).
According to the notification, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has approved the two-day public holiday for Ashura on 8 and 9 August 2022 (Monday and Tuesday).
“It is for general information that the Prime Minister is pleased to declare 8th and 9th August 2022 (Monday and Tuesday) as public holidays on the occasion of Ashura (9th & 10th Muharram 1444 AH),” according to the notification.
“All private and government offices, educational institutes, businesses, and other activities would remain shut during the two days,” the notification said.
The National Command and Operation Centre has already issued guidelines for holding Muharram gatherings and processions.
- COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures i.e mask-wearing, social distancing, and use of sanitizers/hand washing should be adhered to
- Organizing committees should make arrangements for all SOPs
- Zakirs and participants should be vaccinated against COVID-19
- The venue for the conduct of Majalis should be open and spacious with proper ventilation arrangements.
- Wearing masks and maintenance of social distancing is mandatory during majlis and Processions. with the availability of masks and sanitizers/hand washing
- Controlled participation according to the capacity of venues and avoidance of overcrowding
- Duration of majalis and processions should be curtailed.
- Majalis, where SOPs cannot be effectively implemented at home. So, conducting private gatherings should be discouraged.
- Elderly above 65 years, children, and co-morbid may be sensitized to and 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 places.
- 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 the civil administration.