ISLAMABAD: People gathered in mosques across the country on Monday to offer special prayers for Eidul Azha and the government has appealed for the festival to be observed in a “simple manner” this year, to express solidarity with people of Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK).
Indian troops clamped tight restrictions on mosques across occupied Kashmir for Monday’s Eidul Azha festival, fearing anti-government protests.
On August 5, India dropped a constitutional provision that had allowed its only Muslim-majority state, occupied Jammu and Kashmir, to make its own laws, and also broke up the state into two federally administered territories.
The changes are the most sweeping in the nearly 30 years that IoK has been in a security lockdown for eight days as the Hindu nationalist government in New Delhi seeks to snuff out opposition to its move to impose tighter central control over the region.
Pakistan expelled India’s ambassador and suspended bilateral trade in anger at New Delhi’s latest move.
Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday traveled to Muzaffarabad, capital of Azad and Jammu Kashmir (AJK), to offer Eid prayers at a mosque there.
“(I) have come here to express Pakistan’s solidarity with you,” Qureshi told worshippers.
In the southern city of Karachi, prayers were dedicated to Kashmiris in India.
“We are together with our Kashmiri brothers,” said resident Mohammad Adnan. “We share their pain and grief. Today, special prayers were offered for them inside the mosque.”
Eidul Azha or the “festival of sacrifice” is celebrated each year on the 10th day of the 12th and last month of the lunar Islamic calendar.
As many as 10 million animals worth up to $3 billion are sacrificed during the festival, the Pakistan Tanners’ Association says.