Why 374 families will not be celebrating Eid this year
Eid is often considered synonymous to happiness, joy and companionship. Eid helps people reconnect and it works as an excuse for Muslims to celebrate three days with their family and friends.
However, this Eid, we should not forget those who have lost so much of their world in the past year that Eid for them is as bland as any other day. For such people, who have experienced real loss and real pain, celebrating Eid is beyond comprehension. And we, who have been fortunate enough to not be struck by tragedy as yet, should partake in their pain and pay tribute to all the lives that have been lost since last Eidul Fitr.
If I were to draw a timeline, it would be a morose series of events from July 28th 2014 to July 18th 2015 – a year that has taken so much from us that we don’t even recall the total number of deaths now.
Gujranwala Ahmadi killing (July 28, 2014)
Last year, Eidul Fitr was accompanied with the blood of three innocent lives (which included two minors) belonging to the Ahmadi community in Gujranwala, who were killed in a house fire which was set by an angry mob due to a social media controversy.
As we can see, even the festive air of Eid could not stop people from showcasing their barbarianism.
Wagah Border suicide attack (November 2, 2014)
Within five months of the Ahmadi killing, another heart-wrenching attack took place at the Wagah Border, Lahore, in the form of a suicide bomb blast, where close to 60 people lost their loves, alongside 110 injured. This attack was the first of its kind – to take place at an Indo-Pak border – and it ran a shockwave in both India and Pakistan; after this incident, security has been increased tenfold at the border.
Army Public School, Peshawar attack (December 16, 2014)
A little over a month later, Pakistan was hit by another deadly blow, one which haunts people even to this day. Around 140 children were ruthlessly slaughtered by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), after they stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar and targeted innocent school-going children for their bloodlust.
The day is dubbed as the Black Day of Pakistan. This attack triggered the government to create and implement the controversial National Action Plan.
Shikarpur bombing (January 30, 2015)
With the starting of the New Year, we were gifted with another tragedy in the form of the Shikarpur Imambargah attack, which was undertaken by Jundullah – a militant outfit connected with the Islamic State. Around 61 people lost their lives that day, as they were present at the mosque to offer their Friday prayers. The attack led to much hue and cry, but nothing substantial was decided. Unlike the APS attack, perhaps the government did not think it necessary to initiate a similar, aggressive plan for minority rights and security.
Peshawar Imambargah attack (February 12, 2015)
The Shia minority was attacked again, within a matter of 15 days, at an imambargah in Peshawar. This time, 19 people were brutally killed, and the responsibility for the attack was claimed by the TTP. Again, had an NAP-esque policy been devised when the first attack took place, things could have been different this time.
Youhanabad church attack (March 15, 2015)
TTP targeted two churches in Lahore’s predominantly Christian neighborhood of Youhanabad, resulting in the deaths of 14 people, with an additional 70 people critically injured. The attack took place during the Sunday Mass and was similar to the attack that took place in 2013 at the All Saints Church in Peshawar.
Labourers killed in Balochistan (April 11, 2015)
Almost a month later, in an unknown militant attack, 20 labourers were gunned down in Turbat’s Gogdan area in Balochistan for reasons unknown. But did we hear of any concrete plan made to tackle this horrific incident? No, we didn’t.
The silence has been deafening.
Ismaili bus attack (May 11, 2015)
From a third person’s view, it seems like there is a pattern of having a major attack after every month. Forty six people belonging to the Ismaili minority community were killed by eight gunmen in Karachi. While suspects have been captured and the trial for this incident is still underway, little has been done in order to make sure that these attacks are prevented.
Mastung bus attack (May 29, 2015)
Thirty five people were forced off a bus and kidnapped, allegedly, by members of the United Baloch Army. Nineteen of them were later found dead.
If we simply add the number of people killed in just these aforementioned incidents, the total would be a staggering 374 lives; that’s 374 homes which would not be celebrating Eid this year. And right now, I haven’t even counted the number of people killed in one-off terrorist attacks, by natural calamities or within gang-wars.
Makes you think twice before you go about making your Eid schedule now, doesn’t it? I am not asking people to not celebrate Eid or to let go of their celebratory plans. But please keep in mind that we live in a war-torn nation, whose people have seen their worst nightmares come true. The least we can do is be a bit empathetic to their emotions and perhaps not celebrate with as much pomp as we normally would.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.