Pakistan celebrates Eidul Fitr as economic woes dampen festive cheer

Published April 22, 2023
Worshippers gather to offer a special morning prayer to start the Eidul Fitr festival, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramazan, at the grand Faisal Mosque in Islamabad on April 22, 2023. — AFP
Worshippers gather to offer a special morning prayer to start the Eidul Fitr festival, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramazan, at the grand Faisal Mosque in Islamabad on April 22, 2023. — AFP

Pakistan is celebrating Eidul Fitr with religious zeal and fervour today, although the festivities have been lukewarm due to multiple crises facing the nation and a worsening economic turmoil.

According to traders’ bodies, a massive slowdown was witnessed in sales prior to Eid due to skyrocketing inflation. Traders said that genuine buyers were, on average, 50 per cent less than last year due to eroding buying power of consumers caused by unprecedented increases in food, electricity and petroleum prices.

However, retail brands have reported robust demand for their products.

Eid congregations

The first day of Eid began with congregations being held in mosques and Eidgahs in all major cities and towns, Radio Pakistan reported, adding that the main congregation in capital Islamabad was held at Faisal Mosque where top government officials and envoys of Muslim countries offered Eid prayers.

Special prayers were offered for the progress and prosperity of the country and the welfare of the Muslim ummah, the state broadcaster said.

President Arif Alvi also joined the congregation at Faisal Mosque and prayed for the peace, progress and prosperity of the country, state media reported. He also prayed for the salvation of the people of occupied Kashmir from Indian suppression and atrocities.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif offered Eid prayers in Lahore.

He, too, prayed for the country’s prosperity and peace, as well as the people of occupied Kashmir and Palestine and the victims of a deadly earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria in February, the state media said.

PM, president’s message

In their Eid messages, President Alvi and PM Shehbaz urged people not to forget the needy and destitute on the festive occasion.

President Alvi urged the countrymen not to allow their sectarian, religious and political differences to become a source of strife and hatred during the Eid holidays.

He said that in order to get out of the current situation facing the country, people needed to inculcate the habit of forgiving and following the teachings of Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

The president asked the countryfolk to play their role in moving the country towards political and economic stability.

In a separate message, PM Shehbaz expressed the hope that his government would rid the people of prevailing problems, including unprecedented inflation.

“The coalition government is trying its best to pass the minimum burden of prevailing economic meltdown to people. We are striving hard to provide relief to the masses,” he said, adding, “I have a firm belief in Allah Almighty that we will come out of the crisis and good days will return to you.”

The PM extended his greetings to overseas Pakistanis and Muslims all over the world. He urged the people to remember those fellow citizens who had been suffering from teh consequences of last year’s floods.

The premier also paid tribute to those martyred in the war against terrorism and expressed condolence and sympathies with the bereaved families.

The Inter Services Public Relations also issued an Eid message from the armed forces, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and services chiefs for the nation.

“We owe this festivity in a peaceful environment to all our martyrs and soldiers. Salute to them. May Allah continue His blessings upon Pakistan,” the message reads.

Meanwhile Radio Pakistan reported that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir spent the day with troops at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Bajaur.

He said the army was “committed to the defence of frontiers” and the armed forces were “always ready to thwart any threat” to ensure the country’s territorial integrity.

The COAS also appreciated the operational vigilance of troops guarding the border.

“The army chief said that for the defenders of Pakistan … duty takes precedence and nothing is more sacred than guarding the frontiers of our beloved country.

“He paid rich tributes to martyrs and emphasised that on this day of Eid, we must not forget those who laid their lives for defence of the motherland and eliminating the scourge of terrorism,” the report stated.

Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said today was a day to remember the party’s leaders and workers “still incarcerated by uneducated people with petty minds devoid of any sense of history, ethics, morality or reality on the ground” and who would be deprived of the chance to celebrate Eid.

PM extends greetings to Turkish President Erdogan

The prime minister held a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and conveyed warm Eid felicitations to the government, leadership and people of Turkiye, state media reported.

He also offered prayers for the victims of the February 6 earthquakes in southeastern Turkiye and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to stand by Ankara during the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

President Erdogan warmly reciprocated the prime minister’s greetings and conveyed his “special fraternal feelings and affection for the people of Pakistan”.

The Turkish president also thanked the Pakistani people and government for standing with them in their hour of need and conveyed that they “will never forget Pakistan’s support and assistance”.

The Turkish president also appreciated the prime minister’s visit to Turkiye in the aftermath of the quake and said they would always remember the leadership Pakistan demonstrated.

The leaders expressed satisfaction at the “excellent bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to further advance these fraternal ties in all areas of mutual interest particularly; trade, economy, food security and green energy”.

They also reaffirmed their resolve to remain in close contact with each other on all important regional and global issues, the report added. The prime minister also invited President Erdogan to visit Pakistan, which was accepted.

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