Pakistan on Monday began Eid celebrations on a grim note amid tight security a day after the deadly oil tanker fire and last week's terrorist attacks.Eid prayers were held across the country but the otherwise festive atmosphere was marred by gloom as the toll in the tanker blaze near Bahawalpur in Punjab provice climbed to 154. A ceremony to mark the festival at the Presidency was cancelled owing to the tragedy, Geo TV reported.President Mamnoon Hussain offered prayers at Islamabad's Faisal Mosque, where the Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz and former Interior Minister Rehman Malik were also present. Army chief General Qamar Bajwa offered Eid prayers with troops deployed at the Line of Control (LoC). President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in their separate Eid messages emphasised the need for following Islamic teachings and promoting unity to meet the challenges, the Nation daily said in a report.Sharif stressed upon promotion of unity to adequately foil nefarious designs of those elements who were trying to sow seeds of discord in society and destabilise Pakistan."The nation has to unite to fight political and religious extremism, terrorism and forces of strife," he said.Sharif said that Pakistan was a bunch of different religious communities and they celebrate their religious events with equal respect."The Muslims join their minorities' brothers and sisters, a gesture of tolerance and harmony which is also reciprocated by the latter."Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari offered Eid prayers at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in Sindh along with party workers. In Karachi, the main Eid congregation was held at 8 a.m. at the Gulshan-e-Jinnah (Old Polo Ground) where Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair and diplomats from some Muslim countries offered Eid prayers, the report said.Namaz-e-Eid was offered at 4,000 mosques, Eidgahs, Imambarghas, parks, and open places in the port city. More than 9,000 police personnel were deployed for security duty in Karachi.
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