As most of the people go to their native towns to spend Eid with their families and dear ones, army personnel stay back on Eid days to ensure peace and security to them in their respective areas.
“Our happiness lies in the safety of the Swati people, if they are safe and happy, we are automatically content,” said Allah Ditta, a hawaldar in Pak-Army. Ditta hails from Sialkot, but feels at home here. He was of the opinion that the army personnel have double fun on Eid. “We celebrate Eid twice; once, with the people in a front line and then with our families, when we go on leave,” he added.
Abid Naseem, a newly married soldier, who belongs to Peshawar was standing alert on a check post, told The Express Tribune that it did bother him to spend Eid away from home. “For us, our foremost duty is to protect our fellow countrymen and there is a real joy to see them happy and in peace.” He added that though his wife asked him to spend Eid at home, but for him duty is of supreme importance.
However, families of the soldiers and officers posted thousands of miles away from homes, miss their loved ones, especially children, who repeatedly ask their fathers to celebrate Eid with them but for the soldiers, duty comes first.” We motivate our children and family members regarding the importance of our presence on borders and front lines to ensure protection from extremists and militants,” Ditta said, adding that they can easily communicate with their family and children on cell phones. While giving out a message of peace and stability, soldiers of Pak-Army posted in Swat said that all Pakistanis should celebrate Eid and other festivals joyously with their families.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2011.