As Pakistan celebrates yet another Eid under the shadow of Covid-19 and amid economic challenges, the country's leaders urged the nation to revive the spirit of sacrifice, help the poor and needy and follow precautionary measures against the coronavirus.
Sunday morning marked the beginning of the festival of Eidul Azha — yet another one which is witnessing Covid-19 infections rising — with prayers held at mosques, Eidgahs and grounds across the country.
Pakistan has consistently logged more than 500 daily infections since June 28, and the newly revived NCOC reintroduced masks and social distancing guidelines ahead of Eid. As of Sunday, the country confirmed 502 new cases and one Covid-related fatality, as the positivity ratio was 2.73 per cent. About 145 patients were on critical care.
Editorial: A safe Eid
President Arif Alvi offered Eid prayers in his Karachi hometown at the Tooba Masjid.
In his Eid message, he said: "As the country faces economic challenges, there is a dire need to utilise the spirit of sacrifice, state news agency APP reported.
He affirmed brotherhood, selflessness and empathy for the destitute to emerge as a strong nation. “I pray to Allah Almighty to accept the Ibadah, Haj and sacrifices of the Pakistani nation and the Muslim Ummah. Amen!”
“Eidul Azha reminds us of the submission and obedience of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and Hazrat Ismail (AS) before the command of Allah Almighty," he said.
When Allah Almighty subjected these great personalities to a test, both of them acted upon His command, the president said, adding that Allah Almighty was so pleased with their devotion that He made it an act of obligatory worship for the believers till the Day of Resurrection.
“The act of sacrifice reflects a believer’s determination that he is ever ready for the greatest sacrifice in the name of Allah Almighty.”
“The spirit of sacrifice carries a universal significance. No nation can prosper without inculcating a spirit of sacrifice. Sacrifice is not merely an act of animal slaughter, but its real goal is to sacrifice personal desires for accomplishing a higher purpose. This spirit of sacrifice grants such an ability to human beings that they keep following the righteous path despite the most trying circumstances,” he added.
Dr Alvi said: “As our dear country faces economic challenges, there is a dire need to effectively utilise this spirit of sacrifice.”
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, along with his son and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, offered Eid prayers at his family residence at Jati Umra and Lahore.
In his message to the nation on the occasion, the premier called on the people to "pay special attention to the needy and poor to truly realise the spirit of sacrifice".
He also appealed to the public to strictly follow precautionary measures against the coronavirus pandemic while celebrating Eid.
Shehbaz said: "Allah Almighty made sacrifice an extraordinary ritual to show immense admiration for the obedience of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and Hazrat Ismail (AS). The real meaning of sacrifice is obedience and submission to Allah. Allah sees the intention of His obedient men and on that basis gives the reward.”
He added: “We should share the happiness of Eid with needy and deprived around us, who are affected by the wave of international inflation.
“We should also not forget those affected by the recent floods and rains and fully help them in this hour of need. It is our duty to support them and share their grief. The young generation can learn a lot from the meaning of sacrifice during Eid.”
Meanwhile, PM Shahbaz called President Alvi to offer him Eid greetings. According to the govenrment's official Twitter account, the prime minister telephoned the president and congratulated him on Eidul Azha. Alvi also congratulated Shahbaz and "the two leaders expressed goodwill towards each other".
Shehbaz's predecessor, Imran Khan, offered Eid prayers at Bani Gala.
In a message posted on social media, the former prime minister said: "As we celebrate and thank Allah for his blessings this Eid that commemorates sacrifice, let us remember and pray for those who are without their loved ones & for the people of IIOJK and Palestine suffering oppression under brutal occupation."
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, meanwhile, offered Eid namaz in Garhi Khudabux. He was joind by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah.
In his message issued by the PPP, Bilawal said: "Eidul Azha reminds us that determination and sacrifice for the greater good pave the way for success."
He added that no nation and society can achieve moral supremacy without the spirit of sacrifice.
He stressed that in order to "save the country from the problems we are facing, we must work together for the prosperity and development of the nation". "It is crucial for us to put our ego, priorities, personal and group interests behind us," he added.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar and Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili offered Eid prayers at Governor House in Quetta, Radio Pakistan reported.
Planning minister Ahsan Iqbal offered prayers in his home constituency of Narowal.