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May 24, 2020

‘We don’t feel like Eid this time’

Islamabad

May 24, 2020

Islamabad : Each year, thousands of people leave the capital city around Eid days for their ancestral towns to celebrate the auspicious occasion with their dear ones. It is one of at least two occasions each year when this town witnesses a mass exodus bringing life to a virtual halt for quite a few days.

From government officials to businessmen and from bureaucrats to politicians, everybody who is anybody would be heading to their hometowns that could be deep inside provinces. Islamabad, that has been their base all through the year, would have to take a back seat for the few days of Eid.

This would leave few people staying back to celebrate a festival often termed “boring” by the residents, for there is hardly a thing to do except for visiting close relatives that would also remain restricted this time because of COVID-19.

Residents traditionally complain of Islamabad turning ‘dead’ this time of the year and point out that the few days of Eid were in fact quite boring than normal days. “There’s no fun fair, no cultural activity or any other attraction for the people. But this time, due to plane crash and COVID-19, the environment is very sad. We don’t feel like Eid this time,” said Zakiya Shah, a customer at a cloth shop.

During the last few years, the tradition of Islamabad resident to leave the city for native towns to celebrate Eid with their families had changed a bit. Traffic blocks were witnessed around the main shopping areas like any other big city, food outlets and bangle and mehndi stalls were full of customers during the last few days of Ramzan.

This time, COVID-19 has brought back traditional sleep mode of Islamabad on this Eid as residents preferred to stay home throughout the day and when there was time for shopping, the markets starts closing as per the city administration orders.

“At the peak shopping time at 10 pm when women get time to go to market after Iftar, we are asked to close our shops,” said one disappointed salesman. The customers have a lot of stories when they were in the middle of shopping and police came and asked shopkeepers to turn off the lights.

Although the government has announced six holidays, it won’t be business as usual until Monday or Tuesday because people almost always extend their holidays. This means that for almost an entire week ahead EID, much of Islamabad would remain quiet.