PESHAWAR, Aug 19: Unlike other parts of the country, most people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday celebrated Eidul Fitr in line with the announcement of the zonal Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.
However, it was for the first time that provincial Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti offered Eid prayers at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat mosque instead of the Governor’s House because Governor Masood Kausar fasted in accordance with a Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee decision that Eid would be celebrated on Sunday.
Traditionally, the chief minister offers Eid prayers at the Governor’s House along with his ministers, provincial governor and senior military and civilian officials.
The governor along with the corps commander of Peshawar will offer Eid prayers at the Governor’s House today (Monday).
Also in the day, Eid prayers will be offered at Sunhri Majid and Takhto Masjid in the provincial capital.
At the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Saturday, Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Auqaf Minister Namroz Khan accompanied the chief minister for Eid prayers.
The biggest Eid congregation in the city was seen on Charsadda Road Eidgah. Strict security checks by police were in place to counter terrorism.
Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour told reporters there that the provincial government had decided to observe Eid after the zonal Ruet-i-Hilal Committee received credible evidence of the sighting of Shawal moon in the province.
“We, the residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, celebrated Eid in accordance with Shariah as dozens of people saw moon,” he said.
The minister asked Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee chairman Mufti Munibur Rehman not to be obstinate and accept the credible moon sighting evidence of the people of the province.
At many places, people preferred hujras or mosques to eidgahs for Eid prayers over terror threats.
Volunteers of anti-Taliban qaumi lashkars in Adezai, Badbher and Bazidkhel also offered prayers in hujras of their leaders.
“We didn’t go to Eidgah over threats to our lives and offered prayers in hujra,” said Fazal Malik, deputy head of Adezai Qaumi Lashkar.
Dilawar Khan, head of the peace body, shared the views.
In Bajaur Agency, people on Sunday celebrated Eid with enthusiasm amid tight security. Eid congregations were held in mosques and eidgahs, where people prayed for the country’s progress and peace.
Personnel of levies forces and volunteers of local peace committees were deployed outside these places to counter terror threats. No act of violence was reported in the agency. In Kohat, only a handful of people on Sunday celebrated Eid with majority opting to fast in line with the decision of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.
On Saturday night, announcements were made on loudspeaker by some local mosques about the celebration of Eid on Sunday.
Unlike most people, government officials, including district coordination officer and district police officers, celebrated Eid in the day, saying they’re bound to do so in line with the provincial government’s decision.
Eid prayers were offered at Markazi Eidgah, some mosques in the city downtown and the DCO office.
In Mansehra, people of Hazara fasted in the day in accordance with the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee announcement.
“We are bound by the decision of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee and will observe Eidul Fitr in Hazara tomorrow (Monday),” Maulana Waqarul Haq Usman, prayer leader of the central mosque in Mansehra city and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader, said.Police tightened security in the district for Eid, especially in light of the recent Babusar Top sectarian violence.
The district coordination officer restricted the assembly of five or more people and the firing in the air by imposing Section 144.
In Abbottabad, too, people didn’t follow the provincial government’s decision to celebrate Eid in the day and fasted.
Local clerics received the government’s instructions to celebrate Eid but unanimously decided to fast on Sunday and celebrate Eid the next morning.