The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday notified a two-day public holiday in view of the 9th and 10th of Muharram.
“It is notified for general information that 29th and 30th August, 2020 (Saturday and Sunday) shall be public holidays on the occasion of Ashura (9th and 10th Muharram 1442 AH),” read the notification.
Sindh imposes restrictions
The Sindh government has imposed a ban on pillion riding on Muharram 9 and 10 to avoid any untoward incident and maintain law and order in the province.
According to a notification issued by the provincial home department, the ban on pillion riding does not apply to senior citizens, women, children below 12 years of age, journalists and officials of the law enforcement agencies.
The ban has been imposed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
A ban has also been imposed on carrying arms or ammunition, assembly of five or more persons (with the exception of Muharram processions), objectionable or provocative wall-chalking, posters or banners, processions without prior permission and aerial firing.
The ban on carrying arms or ammunition does not apply to law enforcement agencies’ officials, the notification added.
Furthermore, hate-speech either through audio, video cassettes or CD/DVDs or any other medium has also be banned.
Punjab issues safety guidelines
The Punjab Primary and Secondary Health Department (P&SHD) has issued detailed guidelines aimed to curtail the spread of COVID-19 during the Muharram gatherings and processions.
Medical experts and authorities have voiced apprehensions against a second wave of the coronavirus as the government reopened businesses and various sectors after a decline in cases.
“Activities involving gathering of people during Moharram like Majalis, rallies, Zuljinnah & Alam processions, etc., are prone to close contact, surface sharing and environmental contamination with COVID-19 infection. Thus, abiding by preventive measures and strict compliance of SOPs is very important during all events regarding Moharram Majalis & processions,” the official notification read.
It also added a list of the safety measures to assist in curbing the spread of the virus. The preventive measures included ensuring proper handwashing, wearing masks, respiratory etiquettes, social distancing, avoiding physical contact, cleanliness and disinfection, self-protection and taking care of others, etc.