KARACHI (Web Desk / AFP) - Sindh province is observing a public holiday to celebrate Holi today (Thursday), the first time the Hindu "festival of colours" is being officially marked in the overwhelmingly Muslim country.
The move comes days after the federal parliament passed a non-binding resolution that called for the country to observe Hindu and Christian holidays.
A government circular that was tweeted by Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, daughter of the ex-president Asif Ali Zardari, added that all government bodies except essential services would be off for the day.
Hindus in Pakistan make up around two percent of the country s 200 million people and mostly live in southern Sindh province. Christians account for roughly 1.6 percent of the population.
The ancient Hindu festival of Holi, which heralds the end of winter and the victory of good over evil, is marked with a national public holiday in India and sees revellers pour onto the streets.
Celebrated mainly in India, Nepal and other countries with large Hindu populations, it falls on the last full moon of winter.
Earlier on Wednesday, former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari felicitated Hindu community of Pakistan on eve of Holi.
“May the celebrations today also usher in peace, prosperity and joy not only in the lives of Hindus but in the lives of all people,” he said in a message. The festival of Holy symbolises the triumph of good over evil and of light over darkness, he said.
The underlying message of this symbolism is that instead of bemoaning the darkness we should light a candle and instead of bemoaning hatred we should plant the seeds of love, Zardari said.
“I take this opportunity to assure our Hindu brethren and indeed all non Muslim minorities that the PPP stands by them in their struggle against religious apartheid.
He said that he was confident that the Hindus and all other non Muslim brethren will continue to make their valuable contributions for the prosperity of Pakistan and promoting inter-faith harmony.
HOLI WAS ALSO CELEBRATED IN LAHORE ON WEDNESDAY, WATCH VIDEO: