Pakistan celebrates Eid but the mood is sombreOctober 1st, 2008 - 12:57 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Oct 1 (IANS) Terrorism and violence cast fearful shadows over Eid festivities in Pakistan Wednesday as police patrolled the streets and devotees entered mosques through security barricades while President Asif Ali Zardari asked the people to promote “the great teachings of Islam”. According to estimates, Eid congregations were held in over 50,000 mosques, eidgahs and open places throughout the country with millions of faithful bowing their heads in prayer.
Though the government asked people to pray inside mosques, several congregations were held in open areas in the traditional Eid way.
The recent wave of terror attacks in the country, including the bombing of the Islamabad Marriott and various incidents in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), marred the usual festivities of Eid. Adding to the mood of gloom was the bus accident in Multan Tuesday.
“O God bless this nation, save us from the enemy and shower your blessings… save our country from anti-Islam people and those who have fallen prey to the Western agenda,” said a prayer leader at the Faisal Masjid in Islamabad where more than 20,000 people had gathered after passing through security checks.
The late night announcement of Eid — which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and is considered a celebration of piety, forgiveness and love — by the Reut-e-Hilal (moon sighting) committee at 11 p.m. Tuesday night also dampened festivities. It was too late for many children, for instance, to put the traditional henna on their hands.
Security agencies made elaborate arrangements at prayer sites and increased police patrolling to preempt any untoward incident. Islamabad seemed deserted with several people leaving for their villages and hometowns and many others staying indoors.
President Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif were amongst the others who sent in messages congratulating the people on the occasion.
Zardari stressed the need to fight negative elements supporting terrorism and sectarianism in society and called for promoting mutual harmony in the spirit of Islam.
He said in his message that sectarianism, terrorism and militant activities were cruel acts based on ignorance and totally against the spirit of Islamic teachings.
“We have to fight the propaganda of negative elements by logically promoting the great teachings of Islam. We have to project mutual harmony, love and fraternity,” he said.
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