LAHORE – Eidul Azha was celebrated across the country, including the City, on Saturday with religious zeal and fervour, amid elaborate security arrangements.

After offering Eid prayers at mosques, Eidgah, Imambargahs and open places, the faithfuls sacrificed animals to commemorate the supreme sacrifice offered by Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and his son Hazrat Ismail (AS) in the fulfillment of the divine order.

Special prayers were offered for the solidarity and prosperity of the country, freedom of Palestine and Kashmir, and unity among the Ummah. Security personnel were deployed in the close vicinities of places designated for Eid prayers to ensure foolproof security for the worshipers. The mobile phone services were also suspended in high-risk cities including Lahore from 06:00-10:00am on Eid Day to protect the life and property of the common citizens.

Along with enjoying the festivities of Eid-ul-Azha and visiting relatives and friends, people visited graveyards to offer Fateha for the departed souls of their near and dear ones. They showered rose petals, placed floral wreaths and recited verses from the Holy Quran while sitting beside the graves.

On the following days of Eid (Taru and Maru), people including women and children visited parks and picnic spots to enjoy festivities of Eid. Gulsha-e-Iqbal, Bagh-e-Jinnah, Racecourse Park, Jallo Park and Lahore Zoo attracted a large number of families in the evening.

In Lahore, main Eid congregations were held at Gaddafi Stadium, Badshahi Mosque, Masjid-e-Shuhada, Jamia Masjid Mansoora, Masjid Data Darbar, Masjid Wazir Khan, Engineering University Ground and Karbla Gamay Shah.

Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa offered Eid prayers at Badshahi Masjid and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Dera Ghazi Khan. PML-N Preasident Nawaz Sharif offered Eid prayers at Jati Umra, Raiwind Road. Jamaat-ud-Dawa Ameer Hafiz Muhammad Saeed led a large Eid congregation at Gaddafi Stadium and Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Syed Munawar Hasan at Jamia Masjid Mansoora.

Addressing Eid congregation at Gaddafi Stadium, Saeed stressed on the rulers to revise foreign policy and make it in accordance with the spirit of Islam. He stressed upon admitting mistake of supporting the US and Nato, revising foreign policy and avoid taking such cowardice steps in future.

He urged the rulers to ignore threats of the US and improve relations with China and Muslim countries. He said that dream of a durable peace in the region could not be fulfilled without giving right of self determination to Kashmiries. He expressed hope that the Kashmir would soon get freedom from illegal Indian occupation. He offered prayers for freedom of Palestian and Kashmir and for the prosperity and solidarity of the country.

Addressing Eid congregation at Mansoora mosque, Munawar said that the terrorism and turmoil in the region were because of the US interference and a major struggle was required to get rid of that. He said that the Kashmiris had observed the 27th of October as Kashmir Day, the day when India sent its army in the held valley. India had been carrying out state terrorism in the valley for the last 23 years and had killed thousands of Kashmiris who were struggling for freedom, he added.

While expressing complete solidarity with the Kashmiris in their freedom struggle, he stressed on the Kashmir Committee to play its role by highlighting India’s unprecedented atrocities in Kashmir so as to expose its true character as compared to its claim of being a democracy. He said that all over the world, the Muslims were facing the tyrannies of the forces of Kufr. The US had run over Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the land locked Afghanistan had proved mire for the US due to the spirit of the Afghans. The Afghans had defeated the British and Russians in the past and now the US was facing same humiliation.

He said that although Washington had announced pull out of its forces by 2014 but actually it had no intention to withdraw. He said that the US had entered into an agreement with India and Afghanistan under which it aimed at building India as regional policeman. In fact, he said, both US and India were hostile to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and wanted either to wipe it out or place it under UN control.

He said for the last 65 years, Pakistan never got so much attention from the western media as had been given in the Malala incident. The question was, why the western media had been silent over the killing of thousands of innocent Pakistanis over the years, he asked. About two dozen Pakistani soldiers were martyred at the Salala military post but the US authorities did not offer an apology on that.