Afghan refugees in Peshawar celebrated Eidul Azha on Tuesday along with their native country.
Eid in Pakistan will be celebrated on Wednesday (today) in accordance with the announcement of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, but refugees in Peshawar observed it a day earlier because Afghanistan follows Saudi Arabia for all religious festivals.
Prayers were offered in many parts of the city, including Karkhano, Hayatabad and Board Bazaar areas, but the largest congregation was held in Kacha Garhi Camp where around 3,000 Afghan refugees offered Eid prayers.
Other residents of Peshawar, however, have agreed to stick to the decision of the central Ruet-e-Hilal committee and the local committee at Masjid Qasim Ali Khan to celebrate Eid on Wednesday.
Eid messages for Afghan citizens arrived from friends, family and government officials living in the neighbouring country. Later, animals were sacrificed while children rushed to different parks to celebrate.
“We are not wrong; the whole Islamic world is celebrating Eid today (Tuesday). It is only in Pakistan where Eid would be celebrated a day later,” said Rehmanullah, an Afghan elder, after offering Eid prayers at Kacha Garhi.
He said Pakistanis should also celebrate with Muslims in other parts of the world to maintain the spirit of unity. “Afghans consider it their religious duty to celebrate Eid with Saudi Arabia,” he added.
“All Muslims should celebrate this moment together on the same day. Celebrating holy festivals separately has divided Muslims around the world,” said Khaista Gul, who had also come to Kacha Garhi to offer Eid prayers.
Eid was also celebrated in Matta, Khwaja Was, Daman Korona, Nishan Bagh, Monda Camp, Baro Khel areas of tehsil Shabqadar.
In Swabi district, residents of Gandaf and Bagecha celebrated the festival on Tuesday because of the large number of Afghan refugees living there.
The local ulema committee in Mohmand and North Waziristan tribal regions also decided to observe Eid with Saudi Arabia.
Basher Khan, a resident of Ghallanai, Mohmand Agency, said: “We object to two Eids because it creates nothing but disunity among people. We are bound to our area because when we go to other parts of the region people have no respect for our Eid.” He demanded unity on all such occasions. “As Pakistanis and Muslims we should be united in such matters.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2013.