New Delhi: The third International Yoga Day was celebrated in Pakistan on a muted scale on Wednesday but the organisers said a much bigger event will follow after the end of Ramadan.
Yoga guru Shamshad Haider, founder of Yoga Pakistan, which runs over 50 clubs across the country, told IANS over telephone: “Due to the Ramdan and people preparing for Eid, we could not organise a big event this year.
“We have routine sessions in all our clubs today, but after Eid we are preparing for a much larger event this year,” Haider, 48, said from Islamabad.
The Indian High Commission also organised a yoga camp in Islamabad on Sunday in which India’s envoy Gautam Bambawale and other diplomats participated.
Asked about the Pakistan government not celebrating the yoga day, Haider, who says his clubs have people from all religions, said: “It never stopped us from doing yoga. It has granted us permission to hold yoga camps on its land and has also allowed us to promote yoga.”
Born in Pakistani Punjab, Haider, unlike many Muslims, is emphatic that yoga has nothing to do with Hindu religion and should be accepted by people of all faiths.
“Yoga helps to gain mental stability, peace, balanced living. Moreover, it teaches us discipline which is vital in Islam and all religions.”
The International Yoga Day debuted in 2015 after the UN backed an India-sponsored initiative that was supported by over 170 member states.