Pakistan on Tuesday celebrated Eidul Fitr with religious zeal and fervour as Covid-19's spectre that had marred the festivities the last two years finally disappeared.
On Sunday, the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee had announced that Eidul Fitr would be celebrated today as the Shawwal moon was not sighted on Sunday. However, most of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, excluding some areas, had already celebrated Eid yesterday (Monday).
According to Radio Pakistan, Eid congregations were held today at open areas in mosques and Eidgahs across the country while the ulema highlighted the day's significance for the Muslims.
Special prayers were also offered for the progress and prosperity of the country and the welfare of the global Muslim community.
The main Eid prayer was held at Faisal Mosque in Islamabad where President Dr Arif Alvi and high officials and envoys of Muslim countries offered their prayers.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, meanwhile, offered prayers alongside Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz at Jati Umrah.
The state radio broadcaster added that around 25,000 Eid congregations were held in Punjab and close to 4,000 at mosques, imambargahs and open places in Lahore.
Strict security arrangements were also in place to avoid any untoward incident including 43,000 personnel deployed in the province while 5,000 police officers were deployed in Lahore.
Similarly, prayers were held at KP's areas that celebrated Eid today, including Malakand, Hazara and Dera Ismail Khan divisions. Over 190 Eid congregations were also held in Quetta with the main one at Eidgah Toghi Road.
In Sindh, PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari offered prayers at Nawabshah with party workers and supporters.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah offered prayers with Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani and former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.
Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan offered prayers at his Bani Gala residence.
PM vows to overcome challenges
Addressing PML-N workers after offering the Eid prayers, the prime minister expressed his resolve to overcome the current economic challenge with the support of coalition partners in the government.
“Pakistan is currently under severe economic stress, but there is no need to get worried, as under a collective responsibility, they along with the support of other allied parties will not leave any stone unturned to address these issues," he said.
The prime minister also hinted that he would soon address the nation and mention these challenges in detail.
He also prayed to God that the auspicious day of Eid becomes the harbinger of progress and prosperity, enabling the country to steer the country out of the difficult situation.
The prime minister further observed that the government would have to cover this journey towards progress and prosperity with "dedication and hard work coupled with honesty".
He assured the nation that under PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s leadership, the government would resume the journey of "rapid progress and prosperity that had been disrupted during 2018 by an incompetent government which wreaked havoc with the economy".
The prime minister also thanked the people and the party workers for their steadfast support for the PML-N leadership during the last four years. "Sharif family and the PML-N leadership will never forget your staunch support," he added.
In a separate message, the premier said that Eid was more than a special day and instead, a "special occasion for unparalleled united".
He said it was a day to embrace and smile together as he extended his good wishes to the people and the global Muslim community for Eid.
Eid messages from political cream
In his message for Eidul Fitr, President Alvi said he prayed that the day became a cause for happiness for Pakistan and the Muslim world.
"Real happiness of Eid can be found only when we share our happiness with others," he said.
PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, meanwhile, said the residents of Indian-occupied Kashmir should not be forgotten on this day. "Residents of IoK are still facing Indian oppression on this Eid and are paying the price of freedom struggle in the world's largest prison," he said.
He also mentioned the plight of the Palestinians, who he said were spending another Eid under the "oppressive shadow" of Israeli aggression. FM Bilawal said Eid served to unite Muslims around the world.
The foreign minister pointed out that this was the first Eid after the "liberation of Pakistan's Muslims from the anti-people government (PTI government)".
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah prayed that Pakistan was protected from all kinds of mischief and said the government would strive to make every coming day an "Eid for the people" through delivering on public service.
Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said it was a day to "spread happiness".
Meanwhile, Imran wished Pakistanis in the country and abroad on the occasion and said, come next Eid, "we will be on the road towards real freedom."
PTI leader Asad Umar hoped that the day would give the government time to reflect and "understand that the political upheaval is not going to be resolved by filing false FIRs (first information report) or threats of deep fake videos".
COAS spends Eid with troops at LoC
Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa spent his Eid with troops at Dungi, Kotli along the Line of Control, according to the Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR).
He offered prayers with the soldiers and special prayers were made for Pakistan's security, peace and stability.
"COAS also shared Eid festivities with officers and men. COAS paid tribute to all martyrs and their families for their contributions to a peaceful Pakistan," the ISPR said.