The majority of Pakistan's Muslims joined the rest of the world in celebrating Eidul Azha on Saturday, with millions offering animal sacrifices and joining friends and families for feasts expected to last the next three days.

The tradition of Eidul Azha enjoins all Muslims who can afford a sacrifice to do so. The meat is usually distributed among family and the destitute after a share is kept from the sacrifice for personal consumption.

The day began with special Eid prayers, offered across the country in hundreds of thousands of gatherings both big and small, followed by traditional prayers for the well-being of the Muslim community.

Law enforcement agencies had been directed to ensure strict security arrangements for prayer gatherings amidst fears of a terrorist attack.

As worshippers broke from prayers, most headed home or to abattoirs to offer the ritual sacrifice commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim's (Abraham) offering of his son to God as a display of his utmost devotion and loyalty.

Local authorities in each city and town were issued strict instructions to ensure cleanliness and the timely removal of animal remains after sacrifices were completed.

Followers of some sects and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata had observed the first day of Eidul Azha a day earlier.

President, prime minister's messages

President Mamnoon Hussain, addressing the nation on the occasion, noted that Haj and Eidul Azha are based on "the spirit of self-sacrifice".

He urged those observing the festival to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the future of the country and to offer special prayers for "Kashmiri brethren who are struggling to win freedom from India".

Spokesperson to the Prime Minister Dr Musadik Malik had on Friday extended felicitations to the masses on behalf of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club here, he said: "Eidul Azha gives a message of sacrifice and amity, and the people must remember the poor in the joys of Eid."