MULTAN/TT singh/sargodha/mandi bahauddin-Eidul Azha, the major Muslim festival that takes place after Haj on 10 Zilhaj to revive the sunnah of prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (PBUH), was celebrated amid tight security here in South Punjab region.

The poor and downtrodden cheered up as millions of faithful sacrificed animals including goats, cows, bullocks and camels and distributed sacrificial meet among them.

The sky-rocketing prices of sacrificial animals and other daily use items, however, ruined the Eid celebrations as the citizens declared this Eid as the most expensive event of their lives. "Buying an animal has become a dream for us. The prices of sacrificial animals, vegetables, fruits, spices and other edibles have touched ever-high mark this year," lamented citizens while talking to this scribe.

The faithful thronged to Eidgahs, masjids and other open places to offer Eid prayers in the morning and sought Allah Almighty's benediction for progress and prosperity of the country as well as resolution of problems being faced by the Muslim Ummah.

Huge gatherings of people attended Eid congregations in Multan, Bahawalpur and DG Khan divisions to revive great principles of Islamic brotherhood and fraternity. The clerics highlighted the

importance of sacrifice in way of Allah Almighty in their sermons and asked the followers of Islam to promote peace and harmony in society as enshrined in the glorious teachings of Islam.

In Multan city area, the Eid prayer was offered at over 300 places including Markazi Eidgah, Jamia Darul Hadith Mohammadia, Jamia Khairul Madaris, Jamiaul Uloom, Markaz Ibnul Qasim, Jamia Rehmania, Gulistan Marriage Club, Masjid Shuhada Alkhair, Masjid Ashraf, Shrines of Hazrat

Bahaudden Zakariya and Hazrat Shah Rukan-e-Alam, Jamia Anwar ul Uloom and Ghausia Masjid. Special prayers were held for the security, solidarity, progress and prosperity of the country following Eid Namaz. Later on, the Muslims sacrifised animals to follow the sunnah of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS).

Special security measures were adopted in the entire South Punjab region to thwart vicious designs of anti-social elements and maintain peace during this religious festival. The district police established special pickets at all sensitive places. Cops in uniform and plan clothes had been deployed at all mosques, Eidgahs, shopping centers, grounds, parks, public places and sensitive installations while special branch officials carried out sweeping of all such place where Eid prayers were held.

Police launched crackdown on those illegally collecting animal skins and 156 persons were rounded up from different areas of Multan. Police sources claimed that at least four of them belonged to banned organisations. Cases were registered against them. Similarly, those roasting the heads and feet of sacrificial animals on roadsides in violation of Section 144 were also caught and over 100 were rounded up. Police carried out general hold up during three days of Eid and detained dozens of without number plate motorbikes. Similarly, a huge quantity of liquor and 100 gram heroine were recovered from the accused while 40 proclaimed offenders were also caught during the general hold up. Meanwhile, a speeding truck crushed three motorcyclists near Nawab Hotel on Multan-Muzaffargarh Road out of whom one namely Aqeel, 18, died at the spot while two others received serious injuries. They were rushed to Nishtar hospital.

The Multan Solid Waste Management Company exhibited good performance and its workers kept removing remains of sacrificial animals during three days of Eid. The festival past peacefully as no untoward incident took place during three days of Eid.

In Toba Tek Singh, Eidul Azha was celebrated amid tight security with enthusiasm and religious fervour. A large number of people attended Eid congregations in all towns and villages of the district. Hundreds of contingents of police were deployed to guard about 1,000 Eid congregations that took place across the district. In urban areas of the district, Eid prayers were offered at more than 200 places including Markazi Eidgahs. Special prayers were held for the security, solidarity, progress and prosperity of the country and for Rohingya Muslims. Faithfuls sacrificed animals including goats, cows, bullocks and camels in the name of Allah. The prices of big sacrificial animals skyrocketed, however, small animals i.e. goats were sold on lower rates than previous year.

In Sargodha, Eid-ul-Azha was celebrated with religious fervour and passion to sacrifice animals in the name of Allah. More than 200 Eid congregations were arranged across the district. Police had chalked out stringent security measures on that occasion. However, night rain before Eid day created too many problems for people while clogged manholes and disturbed sewerage system multiplied miseries of the masses. The sanitary staff of the Municipal Corporation failed to keep the city clean and its suburbs from offal, tripe and bowels of the slaughtered animals. Police and law-enforcement agencies kept a sharp vigil on the movement of suspects and lodged FIRs against 30 activists of the banned outfits for collecting hides.

In Mandi Bahauddin, Eid-ul-Adha was celebrated with great religious fervour to commemorate the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his son Prophet Ismail (AS). People held Eid congregations at 941 places that included 888 mosques, 20 Eidgahs, 25 Imambargahs and 10 Baitulhammads. The religious teachers in their sermons highlighted significance and philosophy of sacrifice and its benefits and positive impact on the society. The prayers were ended with collective prayers for wellbeing of Muslim Ummah and the humanity at large. Expressing solidarity with Kashmiris and Palestinians, the speakers prayed for their liberation from the occupied forces. They stressed the need for unity among the Muslims to overcome their problems. After attending Eid prayers, faithfuls slaughtered sacrificial animals and distributed meat among their relatives and the poor. The district administration had arranged foolproof security at each place of Eid congregations. Similarly, the municipal corporation had made effective measures for disposal of offal and other solid wastes of the sacrificial animals.