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Saturday June 15, 2024

Pakistanis celebrate Eid with prayers for coming out of crises

PM Shehbaz asks nation not to forget flood victims; president seeks end in polarisation

By Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai & Nausheen Yusuf & Web Desk
April 22, 2023
Believers during Eid ul Fitr prayers at Masjid-e-Khizra in Karachis Saddar area, on April 22, 2023. — Hassaan Ahmed
Believers during Eid ul Fitr prayers at Masjid-e-Khizra in Karachi's Saddar area, on April 22, 2023. — Hassaan Ahmed

Prayers for overcoming the prevailing political and economic crises — persistent since last year — were heard Saturday as the resilient nation marked this year's Eid ul Fitr.

Pakistan faces one of its toughest crises, coupled with external factors, leading to a further burden on the masses who are already hit with skyrocketing inflation.

The day was marked with Eid prayer shortly after the Fajr prayer, with sermons and large gatherings. The people also embraced one another after prayers to express their love.

People were seen sporting their favourite outfits to mark the auspicious occasion, with some still taking a back seat as the masses' purchasing power plunged due to the economic distress.

Retail sales in Pakistan witnessed a sharp drop compared to previous years in the run up to Eid, retailers said, as shoppers feel the pinch of decades-high inflation.

Inflation clocked in at 35% in March, fuelled by a depreciating currency, a rollback in subsidies, and the imposition of higher tariffs to secure a bailout package of $1.1 billion from the IMF — International Monetary Fund.

Food inflation has risen to more than 47%, and even the wealthier professional class is making lifestyle changes to deal with rising prices.

However, the government has vowed to steer the country out of the economic crisis as it repeatedly claims that the IMF deal would be struck soon, but no definitive date has been set.

But if that wasn't enough, there is still uncertainty surrounding the date for the elections — which were triggered after the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies on January 14 and 18, respectively.

The political parties — opposition and government — have assured the Supreme Court that they will hold dialogue and arrive at a consensus regarding holding elections across the country on April 26 and inform it on the next day.

Don't turn 'political differences into hatred'

In his message to the nation on the special occasion, President Dr Arif Alvi appealed to the countrymen to not allow their sectarian, religious and political differences to become a source of strife and hatred.

He said in order to get out of the current situation facing the country, the people needed to adopt the practice of forgiving and follow the teachings of Allah and Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

The president, who congratulated the entire Pakistani nation and Islamic world on Eid ul Fitr, said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) also exhorted us to show mercy and forgive others to seek the mercy and forgiveness of Allah.

He also urged the countrymen to play their part in moving the country towards political and economic stability. President Alvi also said, “While Ramadan creates piety in us, it also makes us realise the sufferings, hunger, and distress of others.”

He added: "This realisation can be the basis for eradicating poverty and injustice from any society. We should make a pledge on this occasion of Eid that we will carry these qualities of piety, and realisation with us throughout the year and play our role in making society prosperous," the president remarked.

He said as Pakistan currently faces a difficult political and economic situation, the people needed to abide by the commandments of Allah to forgive others if they want God to be forgiving to us on the Day of Resurrection.

He prayed to Allah to accept “our fasts and prayers during Ramadan” and grant the country progress and prosperity.

'Don't forget flood victims'

In his message to the nation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif congratulated the Muslim world — including Pakistan — on the occasion of Eid.

"I pray that this auspicious hour brings lots of joy and happiness to our lives," the premier said in the statement.

PM Shehbaz went on to say that Eid is an opportunity for the practical expression of the spirit of patience, contentment, and consideration for others that have become part of our lives from the fasting and worship of God in the month of Ramadan.

"Show mercy to the needy, the needy, the orphans and the destitute around you. This is a difficult period in which the sacrifice and love of pious people are needed more than usual. Share the joy of Eid with all those who are oppressed by hardships."

The premier said the coalition government is putting efforts into ensuring that the minimum burden of economic difficulties reaches the people.

"We are striving to provide relief to people as much as possible. I believe that Allah will rescue us from these testing times and people will return to their routine lives."

The prime minister also requested the nation not to forget the flood victims on the occasion of Eid and asked them to celebrate the occasion with them.