On December 28, 2023, the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan, Anwarul Haq Kakar declared a ban on the New Year’s Day Celebration in the country as a gesture of solidarity with the people of war-torn Gaza. In his address to the nation, Kakar urged people to show solidarity with Palestinians and exhibit sobriety and humility at the New Year.
“Keeping in mind the seriously concerning situation in Palestine and to show solidarity with the people, Palestinian brothers and sisters, there will be a strict ban by the government on holding any kind of event for New Year,” he said.
More than 20,000 Palestinians, the majority of them being women and children have been killed since the start of the war, according to the health ministry of Hamas-ruled Gaza. The ongoing war has already driven around 85 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million people from their homes and with Israel expanding its ground offensive, more Gazans are likely to be displaced.
He alleged that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have crossed all limits of violence and injustice with around 9000 children killed since Israel’s bombardment of Gaza began on October 7, 2023. “The whole Pakistani nation and the Muslim world are in a state of sheer anguish over the massacre of innocent children and the genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
He said that the nation of Pakistan had sent two aid packages to Palestine, with a third one in preparation. He also highlighted Pakistan’s ongoing effort to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinian people on global platforms and affirmed the country’s commitment to continue this effort to halt the bloodshed perpetrated by Israel.
The Pakistani PM’s decision was also supported by the country’s top military brass which stood for the solidarity of the Palestinian people while condemning the serious human rights violations being perpetrated in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military.
Pakistan’s New Year Customs
Pakistan’s New Year celebrations are traditionally not huge due to the influence of Islamic groups who try to stop the festivities through various methods such as the use of force. New Year’s Eve is usually marked in boisterous fashion in Pakistan, with fireworks and aerial gunfire, as well as a bank holiday.
Sharjah, an emirate of the UAE (United Arab Emirates) banned the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Gaza. “The ban was a sincere expression of solidarity and humanitarian cooperation with our siblings in the Gaza Strip,” the Sharjah Police said in a Facebook post.