- Title: INDIA/PAKISTAN: Muslims celebrate Eid in areas struck by natural disasters
- Date: 5th November 2005
- Summary: (W3) KARACHI, PAKISTAN (NOVEMBER 4,2005) (REUTERS) WIDE SHOT EID PRAYER CONGREGATION; EID PRAYER (3 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 29th November 2005 11:14
- Topics: Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA650DK3M4A5UJHXITWPAV9FTRP
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Muslims across the Islamic world marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Friday (November 4, 2005), but some had little to celebrate after a year of natural disasters that killed thousands.
Muslims across India offered special prayers in various mosques including the world famous Jama Mosque situated in the walled city of New Delhi.
Thousands of people have been killed and rendered homeless both in India and Pakistan by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on October 8 centred across the frontier in Pakistani Kashmir.
Eid prayers were also held in the largest Pakistani city of Karachi where, like other cities, the mood of the festival remained sombre.
The governor of the southern Sindh province visited the injured of the earthquake in hospitals. He consoled the injured men, women and children, and gave away Eid gifts to raise their spirits. Around 130 quake injured are under treatment in two government and other private hospitals in Karachi.
Mohammad Nazeer Sheikh had a thriving snooker club in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir.
Like most prosperous Kashmiris, his family of more than forty members lived in adjoining concrete houses.
But everything came crashing down on the morning of October 8, when a massive earthquake flattened almost the entire city around them.
Forty-year-old Sheikh lost his father, a brother and one of his three sons. A sister who lived a little way down the lane is in hospital with a fractured leg.
Now all the grief-stricken survivors of the extended family live in tents erected in a small clearance amidst the rubble of their houses.
As they sat around a fire having breakfast on Friday (November 4) the Sheikh family, like all earthquake survivors, had little to celebrate on the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan nearly four weeks after more than 73,000 people were killed in the country's worst disaster.
"This is not Eid. Eid is celebrated in happiness; this time there is no happiness anywhere," said a red-eyed Sheikh as he returned from paying his respects at the family graveyard.
"Every person is engulfed in his own grief. Some have lost a brother; some don't have a sister; some have lost their parents. Others have lost entire families. Somewhere the little ones have been wiped out; at others older people are no more. In this (quake) nothing has survived. Even for those who have survived, what sort of Eid is this? It's just the Eid prayers, nothing more," he added.
People in predominantly Muslim Pakistan mark the holiday by dressing up in new clothes and visiting family and friends but there was little festivity at a tent camp for homeless survivors in the ruined city of Muzaffarabad.
Pakistani Kashmir and adjoining North West Frontier Province bore the brunt of the 7.6 magnitude quake, which also seriously injured more than 69,000. It was the strongest to hit South Asia in 100 years and left more than three million people in need of emergency shelter with a bitter Himalayan winter approaching.
Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has called on people to celebrate Eid simply this year and make generous donations to help quake survivors.
Pakistanis have responded generously to the call, not only in cash but in kind. Eid saw Pakistanis, from the president down to schoolchildren, flocking to hospitals and tent cities put up for survivors with gifts, cards and words of sympathy and love.
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