The resilient nation of Pakistan celebrated Eid ul Fitr on Saturday, marking the end of a month of fasting during Ramadan. Prayers were offered for overcoming the ongoing economic and constitutional crises in the country.
Pakistan is facing one of its toughest crises, including external factors that are adding to the burden of the masses who are already struggling with skyrocketing inflation.
The day began with Eid prayer shortly after the Fajr prayer, with sermons and large gatherings. People also hugged each other after prayers to express their love. Many people wore their favorite outfits to mark the auspicious occasion, but the masses’ purchasing power has plunged due to the economic distress.
Retail sales in Pakistan saw a sharp drop compared to previous years in the run-up to Eid, as shoppers feel the pinch of decades-high inflation. Inflation clocked in at 35% in March, fueled by a depreciating currency, a rollback in subsidies, and the imposition of higher tariffs to secure a bailout package of $1.1 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Food inflation has risen to over 47%, and even the wealthier professional class is making lifestyle changes to deal with rising prices. However, the government has vowed to steer the country out of the economic crisis, repeatedly claiming that the IMF deal will be struck soon, though no definitive date has been set.
In addition, there is still uncertainty surrounding the date for the elections, which were triggered after the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies on January 14 and 18, respectively. The political parties, opposition and government, have assured the Supreme Court that they will hold dialogue and arrive at a consensus regarding holding elections across the country on April 26 and inform it the next day.
In his message to the nation on the special occasion, President Dr. Arif Alvi appealed to the countrymen to not allow their sectarian, religious, and political differences to become a source of strife and hatred. He urged the people to adopt the practice of forgiving and follow the teachings of Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) to get out of the current situation facing the country.
The president congratulated the entire Pakistani nation and the Islamic world on Eid ul Fitr. He asked the nation to play its part in moving the country towards political and economic stability, saying that Ramadan creates piety in people and makes them realize the suffering, hunger, and distress of others. This realization can be the basis for eradicating poverty and injustice from any society.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also congratulated the Muslim world on the occasion of Eid and urged people to show mercy to the needy, the orphans, and the destitute around them. He requested the nation not to forget the flood victims on the occasion of Eid and asked them to celebrate the occasion with them. The premier said the coalition government is putting efforts into ensuring that the minimum burden of economic difficulties reaches the people, striving to provide relief to people as much as possible.