Sindh government declares public holiday on Holi

Published: March 20, 2016
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Days after the National Assembly passed a resolution seeking ‘closed holidays’ on the annual festivals of minority communities, Sindh government on Saturday declared March 24 as a public holiday to mark the occasion of Holi.

“The government of Sindh has been pleased to declare March 24, 2016 (Thursday) as public holiday throughout the province of Sindh, on the occasion of Holi for all offices, autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, corporations and local councils under the administrative control of government of Sindh except essential services,” a notification issued by office of the Sindh chief secretary read.

NA urges govt to declare Holi, Dewali and Easter as holidays

“We have announced a public holiday across the province on March 24 for the festival of Holi,” Maula Bakhsh Chandio, a senior aide to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah told AFP.

On Tuesday, the lower house of the Parliament adopted a resolution to take steps for declaring Holi, Dewali and Easter as holidays for minorities. “This house is of the opinion that government should take steps to declare Holi, Dewali and Easter as [official] holidays for minorities,” said the resolution moved by Dr Ramesh Vankwani of the ruling party.

Vankwani, who is also patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, was of the view that the announcement was inevitable for the good image of Pakistan as such holidays were also being observed in the United States on Eid, and in India on Muharram.

The resolution had, however, taken the cabinet ministers by surprise, and Minister of State for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnat Shah was visibly confused when Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq asked him if he agreed with the resolution.

Earlier, the religious affairs minister while speaking in the house said the interior ministry had already given permission to heads of different organisations, departments and institutions to grant leave to people belonging from minority groups on their respective religious festivals.

Govt agrees to Holi, Easter holidays

The resolution had been subsequently passed after Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Mariyyum Aurangzeb said the interior ministry would not oppose the resolution.

Hindus make up around two per cent of Pakistan’s 200 million people and mostly live in Sindh. Christians account for roughly 1.6 per cent of the population.

Religious minorities have long faced economic and social discrimination though there are signs the government is now attempting to improve its track record.

The ancient Hindu festival of Holi, which heralds the end of winter and the victory of good over evil, is marked with a national public holiday in India and sees revellers pour onto the streets.

Celebrated mainly in India, Nepal and other countries with large Hindu populations, it falls on the last full moon of winter.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • ahmed
    Mar 20, 2016 - 4:42PM

    This is a small step in the right direction.

    I wish our wonderful peace loving parsis came back to Pakistan. Recommend

  • Jibran
    Mar 20, 2016 - 4:50PM

    A good move. It should be a national holiday. Recommend

  • salman
    Mar 20, 2016 - 7:38PM

    Holiday shall be specific for the related community. Otherwise soon we will be celebrating Christmas/holi/Diwali and so on. The next calendar of Pakistan holidays will only have few working days left.. To prove ourselves secular we are reaching the limitsRecommend

  • Ahmed Ali Khan
    Mar 20, 2016 - 7:58PM

    I think it should be holiday for the minorities only. Don’t we have enough holidays in the country. We are a developing country and have to work more. Recommend

  • Rumormonger
    Mar 20, 2016 - 10:00PM

    And why not. After all it is Holi-Day.Recommend

  • Observer
    Mar 20, 2016 - 11:25PM

    @Ahmed Ali Khan: One more shouldn’t hurt! You should rather talk about deducting purposeless holidays like Kashmir Day etc. Recommend

  • Observer
    Mar 20, 2016 - 11:27PM

    @salman: Yeah, like Pakistanis have established records in working days and night. Recommend

  • Akki
    Mar 21, 2016 - 2:24AM

    Good decision. Befits a Sufi province.Recommend

  • An Indian
    Mar 21, 2016 - 10:17AM

    A very happy Holi to my Hindu brothers and sisters!Recommend

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