Globetrotting and family affairs kept the top leadership of major political parties away from victims of terrorism, who celebrated a second consecutive Eid away from their homes.
Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif was the only person to have spent Eidul Fitr with the displaced people in Bannu and Eidak as well as with the troops fighting militants in North Waziristan Agency, Khyber Agency and South Waziristan Agency.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family celebrated Eid with the Saudi royal family, the premier’s family friends told The Express Tribune.
An estimated two million people left their homes and camped in various parts of the country after the military started an operation in the tribal areas. Unfortunately, political leaders expressed their sympathies only through their Eid messages.
“We thought that PM Sharif or Imran Khan would celebrate Eid with us in the camps, but no one visited us,” Rahmat Khan narrated over the phone from Bannu the plight of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan.
Similar views were expressed by the parents of the victims killed by militants in December’s tragic attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan planned to celebrate Eid with the IDPs in Bannu, but he changed his mind. “Because of the weather, our flight to Bannu has been cancelled,” he posted on the micro-blogging website Twitter. “Sadly, we will not be able to celebrate Eid with the IDPs.”
He, however, remembered the APS victims with a special prayer for their families, for whom it was the first Eid without their loved ones.
Pakistan Peoples Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari spent his Eid in Dubai, but he did not forget to send his greetings. “Let us also remember the martyrs of APS and all those who have laid down their lives, those displaced from their homes or suffered otherwise in fighting the extremists and militants.”
“Only military men remembered us on this big day; political leaders forgot us,” said Fawad Khan, who lost two relatives in the APS attack. “Our public representatives should have spent Eid with the victims of terrorism, but they left the homeland.”
There were only national and international aid groups that took care of the people on this occasion, he added.
Interestingly, only General Raheel visited Bannu and Waziristan to celebrate Eid with the troops on the front lines and stayed overnight at the Wana camp in South Waziristan Agency.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2015.