PM urges masses to stringently adhere SOPs relating to COVID-19

Vowing inter-faith harmony, PM Imran felicitates Hindu community on Holi

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Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the people to strictly follow the SOPs relating to COVID-19 as the country cannot afford complete lock down.

 

In a televised message, he said that the third wave of COVID-19 is more severe than the previous ones, therefore we should strictly adhere to the SOPs, including wearing of masks and avoiding gatherings as we did in the past. He said that number of COVID-19 patients are rising at a very fast pace due to the third wave of COVID-19.

 

Prime Minister said that as he and his wife have gone through the COVID-19 ordeal but with the blessings of Allah Almighty they remained safe.

Prime Minister Imran Khan felicitated the country’s Hindu community on Sunday on the occasion of Holi. “Wishing all our Hindu community a very happy Holi, the festival of colours,” he said on Twitter.National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser as well as National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri also wished the Hindu parliamentarians and the community at large on their special occasion. “This festival of light and colours provides an opportunity to spread happiness,” Qaiser observed. He praised the Hindu community’s role in Pakistan’s uplift.

Qaiser added that all minority communities have the right to openly celebrate their religious festivals in Pakistan. Holi is a Hindu spring festival, originating from the Indian subcontinent that was celebrated predominantly in India and Nepal, but has now spread across other areas of Asia and parts of the Western world.

The festival is a celebration of the end of winter and the start of spring. Often also known as the ‘festival of colours’ or ‘festival of love’, celebrations start on the evening of the Purnima [full moon] that comes in the Hindu calendar month of ‘Phalguna,’ which is between the end of February and the middle of March.

The festival is split in two events that take place over two days.

The night before is the Holika Dahan [burning of demon holika], in which people wear new clothes, gather around a bonfire and celebrate the victory of good over evil.

The next day is known as Rangwali Holi, in which everyone gathers for the ‘party of colours’.

They celebrate by throwing coloured powder on each other along with music and dance.

The Hindu religious festival of Holi has now become popular amongst non-Hindus as well. In many parts of South Asia and in the West, people enjoy the idea of a colour party and joyfully take part in the celebrations.

The Panagah or Shelter Homes a much praised initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan has revived the centuries old traditions of Mughal Empire that introduced the concept of sarai or resting place, modern day shelter homes, extending food and shelter to travelers and destitute people alike with dignity and comfort.

The Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced this programme with the vision to provide livable shelter for poor, impoverished masses including labourers, daily waged workers and homeless people spending their nights under open skies living a pathetic and miserable life. The Panagah is not only a living place rather two times quality meal in an excellent manner.

The idea of shelter homes for poor and needy masses by the incumbent government has appeared to be successful and becoming eminent among the labour class and well-off people alike coming to the Capital from different regions of the country including Rawalpindi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The majority of people taking shelters in Panagahs are daily waged laborers, poor class and homeless persons.

Muhammad Farooq Butt, a UK based overseas national hailing from Lahore told APP that during his visa renewal issue during the second wave of the pandemic getting a hotel for one night was becoming difficult for a person with limited resources.

“An average hotel is simply offering a room for one night stay at Rs3, 000 to Rs5,000 minimum which appears not to be too dear but it gets difficult for a person facing job layoff and no livelihood source due to pandemic-forced closures to afford while travelling to other cities especially the Capital,” he added.

 

Butt said it was quite astonishing to see such a wonderful arrangement at the Panagah of the Capital as there were neat and clean beds, charpoys and also quality food for its dwellers.

“I reached the Capital at night and entered a Panagah just to see the arrangements if it was livable as I did not want to go to a hotel to stay for a night because there was limited amount of money I had in hand and also had to manage my return in it,” he said with contended smile and expression of satisfaction.

He added that there could be thousands of differences with the present government’s policies and decisions but the Panagah initiative was the well-conceived and implemented project of the Prime Minister.

The PTI government had established five shelter homes in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and in KP to provide a secure place for homeless people who used to sleep on roads or footpaths and to help them spending night in freezing temperatures during Winter season.

An official in the district administration Masood Shah told APP that such homes will protect the people from extreme weather conditions and chilling temperatures and so far, this project is functioning in Islamabad, Punjab, and KP.

He said that there are 105 beds in every shelter home and it remains full every day and some NGOs are helping to provide food on daily basis.

When asked about the maintenance or any issue being reported, he replied that the guests were usually seen happy with the environment and had no complaints.

He added that to provide shelter and basic amenities to the poor, needy, and working-class in a dignified manner at shelter homes, the scope of Islamabad’s model shelters would gradually be extended to other provinces soon.

Lauding the all-out efforts made by the government for the most vulnerable and marginalized sections of the society, he said the program will bring a positive change to the people of marginalized community of Pakistan as it is in line with the global model for reducing poverty.

 

The initiative would help the poor, deserving, and daily wagers to save their hard-earned money to fulfill the needs of their children and families instead of spending it on rents in their meager earnings, he stated.

A daily wager Gunbat Khan said this shelter home project is a blessing for people like us adding that this was never done by any government before

He told that this home provides us food and shelter and we people are very thankful to the government for this favour and facility

He further said that he spent night at the nearest shelter home for past few weeks. He mentioned that his spending had decreased and savings increased at the cost of rent travelling and food being spared.

 

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