KARACHI: The Karachi administration ordered the closure of main thoroughfares in the city on Wednesday to prevent people from congregating at cemeteries on the eve of Shab-e-Barat as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Several major roads including Liaquatabad No 10, Nazimabad, Golimar, Shahra-e-Pakistan, Hassan Square, Highway Pakistan, MA Jinnah Road, Shahra-e-Faisal, Saddar and other link roads leading to graveyards have been barricaded.
Roads leading to cemeteries including Sakhi Hassan, Isa Nagri, Mewa Shah, Yasinabad, Defense, Korangi, Liaquatabad have also been closed.
A heavy contingent of police and Rangers has been deployed at several checkpoints to prevent unnecessary movement of vehicles. Only people carrying out essential services are being allowed to pass, whereas the rest are being directed to return to their homes.
— GOS-COVID19 (@19sindh) April 8, 2020
Owing to the blockades that have caused traffic jams in some places, a large number of people were seen trying to make their way through narrow streets or sidewalks.
Moreover, mosques have also been directed to make announcements encouraging people to offer their religious obligations at home.
While most of the graveyards wore a vacant look, some people, it was observed, visited the graves of their loved ones early in the morning to offer their respects.
The hardest to be hit by the lockdown were the flower vendors as fresh flowers could not be supplied to the port city from other parts of the country on this Shab-e-Barat.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in a video message, has asked all Pakistanis to pray at home on the occasion of shab-e-baraat.
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) April 8, 2020
“If you pray at home, you will be protecting the lives of fellow Pakistanis and will be safeguarding the health of all of us. So please stay at home and pray,” he pleaded.