Pakistani expats in Sharjah opt for low-key New Year celebrations amid Gaza conflict

The decision by Sharjah and Pakistan to mute celebrations was deeply felt within the community residing in the emirate

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Sat 30 Dec 2023, 3:01 PM

Last updated: Sat 30 Dec 2023, 10:27 PM

In a gesture of solidarity with the people of Gaza amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel, Pakistani expats in Sharjah will forego their usual New Year celebrations. Instead, they plan to welcome the New Year with reverence and solidarity, standing in support of those affected by the war. The decision by Sharjah and Pakistan to mute celebrations is felt deeply within the community in Sharjah.

The ban on New Year celebrations comes as a gesture to stand with the people of Gaza during these challenging times. The conflict and escalating tensions between Hamas and Israel has prompted nations and communities worldwide to express their support and empathy.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, several Pakistani expats residing in Sharjah shared their views on the decision.

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Asim Khurram, a long-time resident of Al Nahda, said: “It's a difficult time for our brothers and sisters in Gaza. Marking the New Year with celebrations may appear insignificant when compared to the challenges they are enduring. Muting the celebration is a collective way for us to show solidarity and empathy,” said Khurrram.

“We have not planned anything nor does any one of us have any intention to hold any kind of celebration, even a dinner. It will be a usual evening for us,” said Khurram.

New Year fireworks will not take place in Sharjah on this New Year's Eve. This decision aligns with the recent trend of minimizing festivities as a show of solidarity with Palestinians, especially amidst heightened calls for an end to hostilities in Gaza.

Sheraz Hassan Raza, Chartered Accountant and financial consultant at Insight Sourcing LLC, said that they have been muting every celebration. “We have stopped our celebrations and just pray for people who are oppressed in this world. All we pray to the Almighty is to protect the oppressed and let peace prevail throughout the world,” said Raza.

“New year has been a regular day for us and not something special. But this year, all we can do is pray for the children and families in Gaza,” said Raza.

For Naveed Abid, a cybersecurity manager at a real estate developer, spending time with family is the best activity to welcome New Year. “I have been following the number of hostilities since the war broke. My heart goes out to the victims who are not involved in any way. In this situation, I cannot think of any celebration,” said Ahmed.

Rizwan Malik, a business owner in Sharjah, said that muting such celebrations show how people contribute to peace. “It's a welcoming move by both Pakistan and Sharjah, and it shows about how countries can contribute to peace in the world. Banning celebrations might be a small step, but it sends a message,” said Malik.

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