Pakistan announces six-day Eid holidays from May 22 to 27

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 17 (ANI): Pakistan will observe Eid holidays from May 22 to May 27, a notification from the interior ministry said on Saturday as COVID-19 cases surge in the country.

According to the notification cited by Geo News, May 22 to May 27, which is Friday to Wednesday, shall be public holidays.

All businesses, public places, community markets, shops, and other retail stores will remain closed during this period. Only essential items' shops and medical services/stores, as already notified, will remain open.

The Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee will meet on May 23 (Saturday) in Karachi for the Shawwal moon-sighting, according to the spokesperson for the ministry of religious affairs.

Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman will preside over the meeting.

"Meetings of Zonal/District Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will be held at their respective Headquarters at the same time. The Zonal Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Islamabad will hold its meeting in the Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony," the statement read.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 40,151 with 873 deaths in Pakistan, according to the data updated by the country's health ministry Sunday morning.

A total of 1,352 new cases and 39 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, the statistics revealed.

Overall, 27,937 patients are under treatment in different hospitals while 11,341 have recovered completely, which is 28.2 per cent of the total confirmed cases.

However, as Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are set to reopen public transport services in the provinces from Monday, Sindh will also follow suit three days after Eidul Fitr.

The lockdown and market shutdown since first Ramzam has also impacted small business, especially tailors, ahead of Eid, which is supposed to be the busiest period for local dressmakers in the country. "This is supposed to be our busiest season but this year, sales have been seriously affected by the lockdown. Compared to last year, there is a 50% decrease in tailoring customers," said Muhammad Faizan, a well-known tailor from Shalimar Link Road in Punjab.

"The main reason for the decrease is that most people cannot afford new clothes anymore now that so many have been rendered unemployed or been put out of business due to the current situations," he added.

Apart from clothing, a similar situation is being observed in footwear outlets across the city. The special shoe stalls which would be set up in streets and markets weeks before Eid, have remained out of sight and the footfall in city's major footwear outlets has too been significantly affected by the existing situations, as reported by Express Tribune.

"Eid is around the corner and we still haven't received half as many customers as we would entertain around this time in previous years. This is all because of the coronavirus, which has not only kept markets closed and people at home, but also affected their purchasing power in the process," lamented the owner of a shoe store in City Tower Gulberg. (ANI)