Ramzan is a month of endless blessings, forgiveness, generosity and a time to get close to Allah. For Muslims around the world, it is a time when they are connected to each other by similar traditions and feelings, as well as to their Creator through a shared bond that transcends time and space. Ramadan is not only guided by religious practices, but also by tradition. It is the time when Muslims come together and take pleasure in giving back to create a stronger and more equal society.
This year, Ramadan is expected to start on April 13 and last for one month, until May 13. While the holy month generates feelings of generosity, the Pakistani government is working around the clock to present key initiatives to help its people. Especially those who need it. To this end, some provinces, mainly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Punjab, have introduced a series of relief measures during Ramadan to make it easier for everyone, especially disadvantaged parts of society, to observe the holy month.
Let’s find out more about what these initiatives entail and how they will help people during Ramadan.
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS INTRODUCE RAMADAN RELIEF MEASURES
As Ramzan approaches, the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have introduced special measures to make it easier for people to buy essential food items.
Let’s now take a look at what each province has planned in detail.
RAMADAN RELIEF MEASURES IN PUNJAB
For the province of Punjab, Prime Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar announced a special “Ramzan Package” worth PKR 7 billion to help people during the holy month of Ramadan. In providing details, the CM announced that 313 Ramzan bazaars will be established across the province, where a 10kg sack of flour will be available for 300 rupees
Punjab government will provide a subsidy of around 3.5 billion rupees for this. The goal of this program is to create farm shops at fair prices that offer fruit and vegetables at 2018 rates. Likewise, chickpea flours, dates, dried chickpeas, lentils (chana dal) and other items would also be available at rates of the year 2018.
To ensure price stability, the Sahulat Bazaar Authority has also been established, which will provide permanent relief to consumers from artificial price spikes. All traders were advised to follow austerity measures during the organization of the Ramzan bazaars and to use the money saved to bring relief to the masses.
Meanwhile, the Rawalpindi district government has registered 162 shopkeepers under ‘Insaaf Sasti Mobile Shops Programme’ who will provide all kinds of vegetables and fruits at cheaper rates.
The local administration has allocated 10 points near the following areas:
- Double Road
- Haidri Chowk
- Committee Chowk
- Dhoke Hassu
- Khayaban-e-Sir Syed
- Chakri Road near Zafar Plaza
- Adiala Road at Jarahi Stop
- Chur Chowk Model Bazaar
- Chungi No. 22
Citizens can buy cheaper fruit and vegetables at these designated points, while these points will also be used by farmers to bring all fruit and vegetables directly to the designated points.
The local administration has also established “transport points” to transport the grain, which the owners of the mills will also use to obtain the grain. Along the same lines, “Ramazan Sasta Bazaars” are also established in Rawalpindi to ensure that traders do not overload the public by unfairly raising the prices of basic necessities.
Similar policies have also been introduced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
KPK PROVINCE INTRODUCES ‘RAMAZAN STRATEGY’
As part of KPK’s Ramadan relief measures, a comprehensive Ramzan Strategy has been announced to help the underprivileged people in the province.
At a meeting, chaired by KPK Prime Minister Mahmood Khan, it was decided that 83 sasta bazaars and 52 kissan markets will be set up in KPK to sell essential grocery items at lower prices than the markets.
These will be established throughout the province, including 17 in the Hazara region, 18 in the Malakand region, 15 in the Peshawar / Mardan region, 14 in the southern region and 19 in united tribal districts, where wheat flour, vegetables, ghee, oil, milk, sugar, chicken, pulses, rice, fruits, dates and other basic products would be sold at below market prices.
Also, to ensure that food supply is not disrupted between provinces, measures are being prepared such as the formation of committees led by relevant government officials and the police. To avoid the hoarding of essential goods, a common practice during the month of Ramadan, the police will dedicate a special surveillance unit.
Moreover, as the government had introduced a number of shelter homes for the homeless, Khan has also directed deputy commissioners to make all shelter homes completely functional in their respective districts.
KP’S SECURITY AND TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT PLAN & RAMAZAN MARASTYAL MOBILE APP
The KP government has proposed the establishment of a traffic and safety management plan by the competent district police, while a coordination mechanism with the federal government will be introduced to ensure the uninterrupted supply of electricity to the population during the sehri, the beginning of fasting and iftar the breaking of fasting hours during Ramazan.
Additionally, the government plans to launch a mobile app, Ramzan Marastyal, for a “technology-driven approach” to control prices and resolve people’s complaints about shopkeepers’ transgressions. (Note: Further updates will be added to the description of this app as soon as the details are released.)
These are a number of mobile apps that you can use during Ramadan.
KP officials also plan to launch a Meals on Wheels program during Ramadan with help from the federal government to serve people in need while providing financial assistance under the Ehssas program during the fasting month.
The entire government is geared to making this Ramadan a peaceful time for everyone. As the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic gains momentum, it is mandatory that everyone follow the guidelines issued by the government. Here’s how you can keep covid-19 SOPs during Ramzan to enjoy your holidays safely.
The National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) has published guidelines for mosques and imambargahs for Ramadan. According to the details, people will be able to offer five prayers and Tarawih inside the mosques and imambargahs on the terrace and not in the prayer hall.
Strict restrictions on prayer will be imposed on roads and paths. The government also said it will take all necessary steps to ensure strict implementation of the coronavirus SOPs during Ramzan.
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