'We stand with the affected,' say leaders as Pakistan celebrates Eidul Fitr

Updated May 24, 2020


People buy balloons for their children after attending Eidul Fitr prayer at the historical Badshahi mosque in Lahore, on Sunday, May 24, 2020. — AP
People buy balloons for their children after attending Eidul Fitr prayer at the historical Badshahi mosque in Lahore, on Sunday, May 24, 2020. — AP

Eidul Fitr is being observed across Pakistan amid unique circumstances, as the nation struggles to come to terms with a deadly plane crash that killed 97 people and the spread of the novel coronavirus.

President Arif Alvi, in his message, said that he was dedicating this Eid to "martyrs of PIA [crash], labourers who have been trying to earn amid the coronavirus situation, doctors, nurses, corona patients, Kashmiris bearing Indian brutality, Muslims affected by Islamopobia in India, Palestinians and Muslim refugees".

In a bid to encourage people to stay indoors, the president said that he will offer Eid prayers at home. He urged people to "observe social distancing, wear masks and wash their hands so that they can keep themselves, their families and friends safe" from Covid-19.

In order to "facilitate Eid prayers at home", Pakistan Television telecast prayers held in Faisal Mosque.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, while remembering the victims of the plane crash and the novel coronavirus, prayed for forgiveness.

"Unfortunately, this year we are observing Eidul Fitr in a sad atmosphere. On one hand, there is the martyrdom of Pakistani brothers, sisters and innocent children and on the other hand are the precious lives lost to coronavirus. Hundreds of thousands of people are facing difficulties in this crisis.

"The plane crash and deaths from coronavirus have turned this Eid into a sad one. We stand with the affected families in this hour of grief."

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also dedicated this Eid to "our martyrs, our healthcare workers, our doctors, our nurses, our paramedics and everyone else who’s putting themselves in danger to save us".

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, in a video message, said that this Eid would be different, but asked people not to lose hope and "pray that we get rid of this coronavirus soon".

"This too shall pass," he said.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called upon the people to celebrate Eid with "simplicity" and avoid going out.

"Celebrate Eid in your homes as much as possible," he said in his Eid message. He also remembered victims of the plane crash and Covid-19 as well as the doctors and health staff working on the frontlines to combat the virus.

PM calls for departure from 'usual celebratory style'

Prime Minister Imran urged the nation to forgo traditional festivity in view of the lives lost in Friday's plane crash in Karachi and the hundreds of fatalities caused by the coronavirus.

Taking to Twitter late Saturday night, after the announcement regarding the sighting of the Shawwal moon was made, the premier said he wants the citizens to "observe this Eid in a different manner from the usual celebratory style".

"First, let us think of and pray for all those families who have been deprived of their loved ones by the plane crash tragedy and all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19," he wrote.

Editorial: A detailed inquiry, not speculations would determine why the Karachi plane crash happened

In a second tweet, he emphasised that people must remember to observe the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to prevent further spread of the virus.

"The disease is with us and social distancing must be strictly observed throughout the Eid holidays, including during Eid prayers. May Allah bless our nation."

Also on Saturday, the Prime Minister's Office reminded the public to celebrate Eid while following precautions.

"For the well-being of your loved ones, follow the SOPs provided by the govt. Avoid crowded places, observe social distancing, exchange Eid greetings from a distance and be there for the underprivileged affected by #COVID19 lockdown," it said in a tweet.

On Friday, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane with an estimated 99 people on board had crashed in Karachi's Model Colony near Jinnah International Airport. Ninety-seven people died while two survived the crash.

The Muslim festival of Eid comes as Pakistan has so far recorded more than 53,000 infections of Covid-19, which has killed 1,123 people since the first case was reported on February 26.

Earlier this month, the government had announced the lifting of the countrywide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus in phases, even as infections continued to rise in the country. The prime minister had cited the economic havoc the virus restrictions had wreaked on citizens as the reason behind the decision.

Additional input by Javed Hussain.