The interior ministry on Monday announced Eidul Fitr holidays in the country from May 10 to 15.
Govt employees will get an additional three-day off as May 8 and 9 will fall on a weekend, while May 16 will also be a Sunday
Punjab on Tuesday issued an official notification to announce that all public institutions will remain closed from May 10 to May 15 across the province on account of Eid ul Fitr. Therefore, all government employees will be able to enjoy nine days of holidays.
Even though the notification from the Punjab government states that there will be a six-day holiday, it should be noted that May 8 and May 9 will fall on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, while May 16 will also be a Sunday. Therefore, all government employees will be able to take a nine-day break from work.
The notification for the Eid holidays was issued based on the recommendations of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and with the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to a spokesperson for the ministry.
The Covid-19 standard operating procedures for Eid have already been issued, the spokesperson added.
This year’s Eid comes as Pakistan struggles to contain a third wave of coronavirus infections, with more than 800,000 cases and 18,000 deaths declared and only a fraction of the population having been vaccinated.
The NCOC last week announced a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” strategy from May 8 to May 16 aimed at controlling the movement of people, including during the Eidul Fitr holidays, which usually see the mass movement of people between cities and villages as well as the return of migrant workers and overseas Pakistanis for celebrations.
The guidelines issued by the NCOC said, “All markets, businesses and shops will remain closed, except essential services such as grocery stores, medical stores, hospitals, vaccination centres, vegetable, fruit and meat shops, bakeries, petrol pumps, food takeaways and media houses.”
There will be ban on Chand Raat bazaars, including mehndi, jewellery/ornaments and clothing stalls. There will be complete ban on tourism for both locals and outsiders. All tourist resorts, formal and informal picnic spots, public parks, shopping malls, hotels and restaurants at picnic places will remain closed during Eid holidays.
There will be ban on interprovincial, intercity and intra-city public transport. Private vehicles, taxies/cabs and rickshaws will operate at 50 per cent occupancy.
The electronic media has been advised to run movies, dramas and shows to keep people entertained at home. Moreover, uninterrupted supply of electricity will be ensured during the Eid holidays.
Pakistan has seen record deaths in recent days from the coronavirus, prompting stricter restrictions on movement and gathering in public ahead of Eid. Officials are worried the country’s health care system, already under strain, could reach breaking point if more contagious variants of the virus begin to spread, as has happened in neighbouring India.
The government has also closed Pakistan’s land crossings with Iran and Afghanistan for travellers and slashed international flights for two weeks.
On Monday, authorities reported 4,213 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 79 deaths from the disease.