Public holiday in Islamabad on 18 and 19 December (Saturday and Sunday) has been declared by the Federal Govt, as the country prepares to host a summit of foreign ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) this Sunday to address the mounting humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
Sheikh Rashid, the Minister of Interior, made the announcement while speaking to the media in the capital today. The decision, according to him, was made in order to provide perfect security for the conference attendees.
Moreover, Sheikh Rashid said that the cabinet division would send out a separate notification concerning the Monday off for the secretariat, which would be received independently.
In a tweet on Friday, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqat also confirmed that schools and private offices in Islamabad will be closed on Saturday and Monday, as previously announced.
Hiking paths in Margalla will be blocked till Monday, according to him, who further stated that “metro stations from Pakistan Secretariat to Shaheed-e-Millat Secretariat will also remain closed until Monday.”
As part of the closure, he also tweeted an official announcement on Twitter, which stated that government offices would be closed on December 20 (Monday).
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Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, as the United Nations has repeatedly warned, and Qureshi said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) “must step in to support our Afghan brethren.”
According to a statement released on Saturday, Pakistan will host the 17th extraordinary session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers on the Afghanistan situation in Islamabad, with the primary goal of drawing attention to the urgent need for humanitarian assistance and the mobilization of resources to prevent a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in the country.
“If we don’t act quickly, half of Afghanistan’s population, or 22.8 million people, might face a food deficit, and 3.2 million children could suffer from malnutrition.” In a press conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated, “This is the severity of the problem that we and the rest of the world must comprehend.”