Today much of Pakistan celebrates one of three Eids – not during the course of the year, but in fact during the last three days. Residents of North Waziristan, Bajaur and Khyber Agencies and parts of the Charsadda district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa celebrated Eid on Saturday, a day before Saudi Arabia even. The rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa celebrated Eid on Sunday, the same day as Eid in Makkah and Madinah, the date commonly followed by Muslims across the world. The rest of the three provinces of Pakistan will celebrate Eid today, on Monday. With a record three Eids, this year saw differences in the body of clerics responsible for the moon sighting. Although, in bookshop diaries, almanacs and everyday calendars available for a pittance at your local bookstore, all have predicted the date for the new moon for easily the next ten years, Pakistan continues to struggle every year to come together for Eid. It is a great pity that across Pakistan there was a general consensus only on blindly ignoring the foolproof scientific tools and information at our disposal.
Terrorism and violence were not the only problem plaguing the average Pakistani. There was also raging inflation to keep him away from the markets – provided he had anything left in his pocket after paying the sky-high transport costs to get there, caused by escalating petrol prices. The level of government concern can be measured from the fact that it converted the fortnightly review of fuel prices into a weekly one in this very month. It seems the government is incapable of keeping its promises, as that of avoiding electricity loadshedding at sehar and iftar, was broken, with the Holy Month seeing more of the power riots that are feared as a harbinger of the sort of protests that have gone into the Arab Spring.
This Eid has not seen an end to the endemic corruption that vitiates our system of governance, nor to the rumours of military rule that are rocking the boat of state. That the people are celebrating it is not just because it is one of the two festivals laid down for the community of believers, but is also a tribute to the resilience of the Pakistani people. However, as this Eid is a time of happiness and joy, throughout Pakistan, as well as in the entire Muslim world, we are not supposed to forget our less fortunate brothers, but help them celebrate. That is the philosophy of the fitrana distribution before the Eid congregations where all gather in a display of unity unknown in other faiths. This newspaper would like to take this opportunity of wishing all its readers across Pakistan, a very hearty Eid Mubarak. May it pass in peace.