Pakistan bans New Year’s Eve celebrations in solidarity with Gaza

Last Updated on December 29, 2023 12:32 pm

Pakistan has banned New Year’s Eve celebrations to show solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, the government said late Thursday, urging people to instead “observe simplicity”.

In an evening televised address to the nation, Pakistan Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said because of the situation in the Gaza Strip, the government had “completely banned all kinds of events regarding the New Year celebrations”.

Israel’s relentless aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza, in retaliation for Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, has left much of the territory’s north in ruins, and killed at least 21,320 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

Kakar said Thursday, “The entire Pakistani nation and the Muslim Ummah were deeply saddened by the genocide of the oppressed Palestinians, especially the massacre of innocent children, in Gaza and the West Bank.”

New Year’s Eve is usually marked in boisterous fashion in Pakistan, with fireworks and aerial gunfire — as well as a bank holiday on 1 January.

Sharjah, an emirate of the United Arab Emirates, on Thursday banned New Year’s Eve fireworks over the war in Gaza.

The ban was “a sincere expression of solidarity and humanitarian cooperation with our siblings in the Gaza Strip”, Sharjah police said in a Facebook post.

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