SYED DANISH & ISRAR AHMAD

ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI – Religious fervour and happiness on the faces of the citizens of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad marked the Eidul Fitr celebrations.

Thousands of people dressed in new clothes thronged mosques across the twin cities on Eid day morning to offer prayers on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr before heading off to enjoy elaborate feasts with relatives and friends. The people also visited relatives to exchange Eid greetings and attended family parties during Eid holidays. TV channels telecast special programmes during Eid Days.

Children wearing new clothes showed off their ‘eidi and flooded the streets, adding colour to the festival.

Eidul Fitr is also a festival of sweets with the markets flooded with traditional delicacies. People make ‘sevian and ‘phirni, amongst a host of other preparations, at home.

Throughout the Eid holidays, people met friends and relatives, and exchanged greetings and gifts. “After praying at the local mosque I will go to my friends place where all of us will enjoy. Later in the evening we have planned a big family gathering, said Moinuddin, a resident of Satellite Town, Rawalpindi.

On all three days of Eid the weather remained cloudy. Cinemas and fast food outlets of twin cities also witnessed a great rush of people.

At the same time, a large number of people could not succeed in joining their family members on this memorable event, i.e. the people living in orphanages and old peoples homes of the capital city. Perhaps for them the concept of celebration of Eid with family members had of no significance.

Social and non-governmental organizations remained active on this occasion to assist the downtrodden segments of the society. PAYYAM Foundation, Helping Hand, Al-Khidmat Foundation and Muslim Aid are prominent among them, who made special arrangements and announced different programmes, to make Eid of poor worthwhile.

These organisations with collaboration of each other distributed special packets of food and Eidi gifts among the poor and needy people in different areas and hospitals of the twin cities.

Recreational spots of the twin cities remained packed with people during Eid holidays. Islamabad, a boutique city of the country is deprived, even on this happy occasion, of its residents, as a large number of residents fled towards their hometowns to celebrate joyful moments of Eid with their kith and kin.  The people also thronged to the graveyards to offer fateha for the departed souls of loved ones after Eid prayers.

A heavy rush of flower sellers was also witnessed at the entry points of these graveyards, who were found busy in selling flowers at very high prices.

Public transport during Eid holidays remained off the road, which forced the citizens to hire cabs and other private vehicles. During Eid holidays the traffic police in Rawalpindi did not care for violators, however, they remained busy to control the traffic on signals to evade any traffic jams on busy arteries of the city.

Almost all the recreational spots of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, including the Shakar Paryan, Pakistan Monument, Rawal Dam, Lake View Park, Damn-e-Koh, Pir Sohawa, Fatima Jinnah Park, Nawaz Sharif Park, Ayub Park, Safari Park, Race Course, Jinnah Park appeared packed with a huge rush of people where they seemed enjoying every moment of the Eid festival.

Meanwhile, like other parts of the country, Pindities celebrated Eidul Fitr on Monday with religious fervour and gaiety across the division.

People dressed in their festive clothes offered Eid prayers in mosques, Imambargahs and Eidgahs. The big congregations were held at Nawaz Sharif Park, Eid Gah Islamia Seminary at F-Block and other areas. Special prayers were also offered for the development and prosperity of the country and for the helpless people of Myanmar.

Soon after offering Eid prayers, people greeted each other “Eid Mubarak”, gave food and alms to the destitute segments of the society and visited graveyards laying floral wreaths and offering Fateh on the graves of their beloved ones. Later people also visited friends and relatives in very jolly mood. 

They also exchanged gifts and enjoyed special dishes, particularly “sewayian” made of vermicelli, and different varieties of biryani, meat and mutton.

RPO Capt (retd) Muhammad Zubair, CPO Azhar Hameed Khokher, SSP (Operations) Dr Akhter Abbas, SPs, DSPs and other police officers offered Eid prayer at Police Line Number 1.

After offering the Eid prayer, RPO and CPO greeted “Eid Mubarak” to their subordinates. Later “Bara Khana” was also held in which all the police officers participated.

All shops and business establishments, banks and government offices remained closed due to the public holiday. The ATMs of almost all the banks remained out of service causing immense troubles for the account holders.

The police made unprecedented security arrangements at the Eid Gahs with deployment of extra force both in uniform and in civvies. City Traffic Police diverted the traffic during the prayers to avoid traffic mess.

The business of sweets got momentum as huge rush could be witnessed on all the bakeries and sweet shops with people buying cakes and sweets for their friends and relatives. Traffic remained off the road whereas taxi cabs minted money from the passengers as per their own will.

A festive mood also gripped the city even on Tuesday and Wednesday with heavy shower of rain bringing pleasant change into the weather. A large number of families thronged towards Zia Park, Ayub Park and Play Land. The small children and young girls enjoyed the swings and delicious food such as chana chat, gol gappay, burger, finger chips, pakoras, samosas and many other sweets.

Tens of thousands of citizens also thronged towards the hill resort Murree. Because of less deployment of traffic wardens, a gigantic traffic jam triggered on all the roads leading towards the hill station. People remained stuck in their vehicles for hours.

On the other hand, citizens faced shortage of vegetables like onion, potato, tomato, green chilies, mint. The shopkeepers at various markets sold out tomatoes on hefty rate of Rs 200 to 250 per kg. Similarly potatoes and onion were also available on high prices.

The people, who went to the native villages to celebrate Eid with their families, had to face humiliation at the hands of transporters who raised the fairs.