ISLAMABAD: Muslims in Pakistan and around the world on Wednesday celebrated yet another major Islamic holiday in the shadow of the pandemic and amid growing concerns about the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus.
Eid Al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is typically marked by communal prayers, large social gatherings, slaughtering of livestock and distributing meat to the needy. This year, the holiday comes as many countries including Pakistan battle the delta variant first identified in India, prompting governments to impose new restrictions and appeal for people to avoid congregating and follow safety protocols.
The pandemic has already taken a toll for the second year on a sacred mainstay of Islam, the Hajj, whose last days coincide with Eid Al-Adha. Once drawing some 2.5 million Muslims from across the globe to the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia, the pilgrimage has been dramatically scaled back due to the virus.
President Dr. Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the Pakistani nation and the whole Muslim Ummah on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, reminding Pakistanis in separate messages that a nation could not aspire to achieve the goal of development without “the spirit of sacrifice.”
“Alvi urged the people to continue raising their guard against the fourth wave of coronavirus by strictly observing all standard operating procedures to contain its further spread,” Radio Pakistan reported. “He stressed upon prolonging these efforts to overcome the fourth Delta variant wave.”
PM Khan in his message said Pakistan — which has fared much better than other countries in the region in battling the coronavirus — was successful in the fight against the pandemic because it employed “wisdom, national strategy and patience.”
The day dawned with special prayers in mosques for the well-being of the Ummah and the prosperity and safety of Pakistan and its people. Following Eid prayers, the faithful performed the ritual of sacrificing animals, spending time feasting with family and friends and distributing sacrificial meat among family members, friends and the poor.
While offering Eid prayers, people have been asked to maintain distance, and avoid hugging. Unlike Eid Al-Fitr in May, the Pakistani government did not impose strict lockdowns ahead of Eid Al-Adha this year.