LAHORE - Pakistan is celebrating Eidul Fitr with religious zeal and fervour today (Monday) amid elaborate security arrangements.

Central Ruit-e-Halal Committee led by its Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman met in Islamabad to examine testimonies of sighting of Shawal moon. Regional Ruit-e-Halal committees also met at their respective headquarters. The people, however, were not required to wait for the official announcement from Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman as Shawal moon was clearly sighted minutes after Iftar in various cities including Lahore and Karachi.

On seeing Shawal moon, people greeted each other on the auspicious occasion of Eidul Fitr.

Preparations have already been completed for holding Eid congregations at open places‚ mosques, Eidgahs and imambargahs across the country including Lahore.

In their sermons, ulema and khateebs will highlight the significance of Ramzan, Lailatul Qadar and Eidul Fitr. Special prayers will be offered for security, progress and prosperity of the country, success of operation against terrorism, freedom of Kashmir and Palestine and unity among Ummah.

Law enforcement agencies have finalised security arrangements at venues of Eid congregations in big cities including Lahore. Extra ordinary arrangements have been made at places where top leadership and VVIPs are offering Eid prayers.

The country’s leadership greeted the nation in their Eid messages, calling for unity and fighting terrorism and extremism till getting rid of the menace. President, prime minister, governors and chief ministers greeted people on the occasion and pray for peace and development cleansing Pakistan from all kinds of extremism.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, President PPP-Parliamentarians Asif Ali Zardari, Ameer Jamat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq and leaders of other mainstream political, religio-political and religious parties congratulated the nation.

People including women and children thronged markets and business centres across the country, including Lahore, in the last effort to complete shopping for the big occasion. Though majority of people have already done shopping, they were out to purchase few remaining items or enjoying shopping during Chand Raat. Still there are good numbers of people who always wait till Chand Raat for Eid shopping. Besides these people who always do shopping after sighting of Shawal moon, youths also come out to enjoy festivities of Chand Raat.

Huge rush was witnessed at major shopping centres including Emporium Mall Johar Town, Packages Mall on Walton Road, Mall of Lahore in Cantonment, DHA Y-Block market, Anarkali, Liberty Market, Model town bazaar, Sadaar Bazaar, Ichara and Panorama Centre.

Police deputed more than 7,000 officers and personnel for patrolling and performing security duty at busy shopping malls. Even heavy deployment could not stop eve teasers from freely roaming in shopping malls and busy centres.

Shopkeepers made roaring business from Iftar to till late at night as shoppers were not doing bargaining to the extent of last one week. “Window shopping and too much bargaining has become a culture. I was getting more customers but less serious buyers. This is not the case during Chand Raat as there is no time for buying after that,” said Muhammad Munir, owner of an artificial ornament shop at Liberty Market.

“Almost everyone purchases new clothes and shoes for Eid. I am here to purchase some stuff for kids and myself. I always come here to get rid of bargaining”, said Iram Aslam, who visited Emporium Mall for shopping. “I always do shopping on Chand Raat. Purchasing items just before Eid is a good feeling. We are doing shopping and at the same time enjoying Chand Raat,” said Muhammad Faizan, who visited the Mall of Lahore along with his family for shopping.

Shehbaz felicitates all

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that Eidul Fitr is a special gift and reward of the Almighty for Muslims and after Ramazan, this day brings with it the message of love and mutual unity.

In his message, the CM said that today we equally share the grief of the bereaved families of Ahmed Pur East and on this unfortunate incident we really feel sorry.

“All our sympathies are with the bereaved families and we pray that may the Almighty give them strength to bear these irreparable losses and we also pray for the early recovery of those injured in the accident,” he added.

Shehbaz said Eid demands sharing of its joys with the poor and oppressed people and it is our religious, moral and national obligation not to forget deprived and underprivileged people in Eid festivities.

He further said that the sacrifices made by martyrs in the fight against terrorism cannot be forgotten on the occasion. “Today we stand in complete solidarity with the families of martyrs and it is our collective national responsibility to share the joys and happiness of Eid with the families of martyrs.”

He also called upon the countrymen to offer special prayers on this occasion for the survival, solidarity and prosperity of the country as well as complete elimination of terrorism.

Who is where!

Majority of the leaders of political parties are expected to celebrate Eidul Fitr at their homes.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who flew to London from Saudi Arabia on Saturday, left for Islamabad on Sunday and will celebrate Eid in Lahore. Immediately after his return to Islamabad, he was scheduled to visit Bahawalpur, the site of a tragedy that killed more than 150 people. PTI chairman Imran Khan will celebrate Eid at his residence in Bani Gala Islamabad while Pakistan Awami Tehreek chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri will lead Eid prayer at Model Town. PPP chairman Belawal Bhutto and co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari are celebrating the day with their family and other leadership in Karachi. Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq who is in Saudi Arabi for Umrah is likely to reach at Mansoora on Eid. Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif will make the event at Lahore while JUI-F chief Fazalur Rehman will lead the Eid prayer at his home town in DI Khan.

‘No loadshedding’

The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) has announced that loadshedding will not be conducted in the provincial capital and other areas under its limits on Eid day. The company said maximum relief will be also provided to its consumers on three Eid holidays. The company spokesperson said special emergency units had been established at Lesco headquarters and other locations to act in case of any complaint of tripping or shut down. He added that Lesco chief made special teams to provide round the clock relief to its consumers. The other power distribution companies including Mepco, Fesco, Gepco, IESCO and distributors in Sindh, KP and Balochistan also announced that they will not conduct loadshedding on Eid. It is expected that electricity demand will touch around 20,000MW on Eid days against the overall generation of 14,000MW. The power ministry will cut the supply to industry to fill the gap between the demand and supply and provide relief to domestic consumers.

Siraj announces post-Eid campaign

Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, in his message on the Eidul Fitr, has urged the nation to once again rise with the spirit of the Pakistan movement and strive its best to achieve the goal before the founding fathers of this Muslim homeland.

Sirajul Haq said that Eid was an occasion of sharing joys and happiness with others especially the poor and the down trodden. At present, he added, the society was full of injustice, poverty and helplessness. “Scores of innocent people are being killed in bomb blasts and there is political chaos. All these things have made the nation aggrieved and it has been denied its right to celebrate Eid as an independent nation.” Siraj said that the main responsibility of this situation was on the Muslim rulers who were incompetent and had a slavish mentality. The JI chief said that after Eid, he would reach the people in every nook and corner of the country with the nation’s agenda and he fully hoped that the masses would support the JI in its plan.