KARACHI: While showing solidarity with their friends and family in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, people in some Pakhtun-dominated areas of the city celebrated Eidul Fitr on Sunday.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had decided late on Saturday to support its Peshawar moonsighting committee’s assertion that it had received 18 credible moonsighting testimonies from across the province.
Local clerics in Karachi followed suit, as residents of Kemari and other areas wore new clothes, visited mosques to offer Eid prayers and then offered greetings to their loved ones.
"I am waiting for my friends to come over. We have especially made biryani for the guests," said Noorul Ameen*, a Pashtun who lives in Keamari.
"There is no point in waiting when Muslims around the world are celebrating," he added, while feeling sorry that the rest of the city would celebrate Eid on Monday.
Hundreds of Pakhtun gathered for Eid prayers at two mosques in Keamari, Darul Tarbia and Ibrahim Majid.
The country is going to celebrate three Eidul Fitrs this year, as parts of North Waziristan and even K-P had observed the festival on Saturday. K-P has generally differed with the central moonsighting committee’s decisions on the matter in the past as well, and has been celebrating Eid a day ahead of the rest of the country for a long time.
Due to Karachi’s demographics, people in small pockets in the city have been following their brethren in K-P when it comes to marking such festivals. The additional controversy this year was that the K-P government alleged that the central Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee announced its decision while the K-P’s zonal moonsighting committee’s meeting was still in progress.
Ameen, meanwhile, said that an increasing number of people in his neighbourhood had started following Saudi Arabia’s lead when it came to celebrating Eid. “Six years back, there used to be around 15 men in our mosque when we celebrated Eid before everyone else in the city. Now, the mosques get full and you can find hundreds of people.”
There were reports that a small number of people in Sohrab Goth and a few other areas had also celebrated Eid, but their decision to do so was not backed by any political and religious party.
The Awami National Party’s district east president Mohammad Younis Khan said that ANP activists and sympathisers would follow the directives issued by the Sindh government.
"There is no compulsion within our party. It doesn’t matter if the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is celebrating [Eid on Sunday]. But it is our bad luck that we stand divided even on this day."
Khan’s biggest regret, it seems, is that he has to call up family and friends in K-P to offer Eid greetings, but would not be able to receive anything in return. "I think it’s about time we solved this controversy once and for all, on scientific lines,” said the ANP leader.
Usman Khan, a resident of Orangi Town, said that people in his locality had decided to celebrate Eid with rest of the country on Monday.
Landhi is another area with a sizable Pashtun population. While referring to the practice of hugging people on Eid, Mohammad Saleem, a resident of the area, jokingly said, “If 2.2 billion Muslims decide to celebrate Eid on the same day, we could set an unbreakable record”.
Meanwhile, Saleem expressed his displeasure with Mufti Muneebur Rehman, head of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee. "We should have someone at the helm who is acceptable to everyone."