ISLAMABAD: Though this Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated with great enthusiasm, the suffering and plight of those affected by the floods was not forgotten. Traditionally Eid is supposed to mark the end of Ramadan, a day of relief and rejoice after a month of testing and abstinence. For the people affected by floods, this day does not mark the end of testing times. Their endurance will be tested for well beyond a month. The month of Ramadan is meant to be a lesson in empathy, and our urban citizens celebrated its passing with altruism.
Residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi started Eid by offering their morning prayers at mosques and then proceeded to visit family and friends. Children wearing colourful clothes and playing games flooded the streets. Oman Shafique, a college student, said that he and four of his friends donated their ‘eidi’ to a relief camp helping those affected by the floods, “Its important not to forgot those in need this Eid,” he said.
Throughout the day, people met their friends and relatives, exchanging gifts. “After praying at the local mosque, I went to my friend’s house where all of us had lunch,” said Rizwan Hussain, a resident of Satellite Town. Families were seen enjoying the outdoors as a large number of people came to picnic spots like Pir Sohawa, Daman-e-Koh and Rawal Dam. Food stalls were colorfully decorated in the sprit of Eid. “We have come here to enjoy the weather and to have some delicious Gol Gappas,” said Ambreen Qaiser, a resident of F-8.
The influx of people at these parks and restaurants resulted in the overcrowding of parking lots making it difficult to find parking spots. “We had to wait for hours before we could find parking space in Jinnah Park,” Ahmed Nawaz, a resident of Rawalpindi said. In addition to the regular posts, the Capital Police set up special pickets to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. That, however, did not stop the long queues and traffic jams.
A large crowd of boys was seen dancing outside the cinema on Eid day. Their playlist manager, Danyal, yelled over the loud music booming from his car’s woofer to say, “Punjab government has made tickets so expensive we can’t afford to watch a movie, but this is an amazing spot to party.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2010.