ISLAMABAD - While millions of Muslims worldwide are welcoming `Eid Al-Adha, one of the two major Muslim festival, residents of Pakistan's tribal belt are celebrating yet another fearful and somber feast.
We are not thinking much about `Eid, Nasir Dawar, a resident of Mir Ali town in North Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan, told OnIslam.net.
We are thinking whether or not we will be sacrificed on this `Eid in the name of a military operation.
Unlike other Muslims worldwide, residents of North Waziristan are growing worried of a new military offensive in the area, which is the hub of the Haqqani network, a group suspected of launching attacks against US-led foreign troops in Afghanistan.
We have been celebrating `Eids under a virtual siege for last four-five years, Nasir, who owns a small transport business, said.
But this time the fears of a military operation have added to our miseries.
Earlier, there were only drone attacks to scare us, even during the `Eid days, but it seems as if there would be additional gifts of shelling and firing on this Eid.
Since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, US drone aircraft launch regular attacks in Pakistan's northern tribal belt on claims of fighting terror and hunting down Taliban and Qaeda leaders.
Washington has stepped up the attacks, which were launched based on information gathered by local tribesmen, since Barack Obama was elected president.
But the unmanned attacks are slammed for killing hundreds of civilians and only a few militants.
In calculation, more than 3,000 tribesmen, including women and children, have been killed in over 300 drone attacks in Waziristan since 2004.
According to Investigative Bureau of Journalism, an investigative think tank based in London, the ratio of high-value targets killed in these drone attacks is merely 2 percent.
In an investigative report, The New York Times found that the majority of the victims of US drone attacks are civilians, including women and children.
Despite their fears, Waziris insist on bringing the `Eid joy to the faces of their children.
I have bought clothes and shoes for my children, Nasir, a father of three, told OnIslam.net.
I do not want them to feel in a way we are doing. They are too young, and I want them to enjoy `Eid festivities at least for next few years until they understand what's happening around them.
`Eid Al-Adha, or "Feast of Sacrifice, is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations, together with `Eid Al-Fitr.
Celebrated by Muslims worldwide, it marks the end of annual hajj.
After special prayers to mark the day, Muslims offer Udhiyah, a ritual that reminds of the great act of sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma`eel were willing to make for the sake of God.
Habib-ur-Rehman, a student of Mir Ali Degree College, plans to celebrate `Eid with his friends in Bannu, a nearby town.
There will be at least peace there, Habib told OnIslam.net.
Here, you never know when and where be drone attack, whether it's an `Eid gathering or any other festivity.
Huge `Eid gatherings are main features of tribal societies.
In Waziristan, males gather at a ground or any other main meeting place to meet and greet each other on `Eid day.
However, such gatherings have been marginalized for the past few years due to drone attacks on public gatherings, jirgas, and even in some cases on funeral prayers.
They (drones) won't care if it is `Eid day or a day of mourning, Habib said.
So it's better to avoid any such `Eid gathering, where you may lose your life.
Thousands of displaced Waziris are also celebrating a somber `Eid away from their homes and families.
It's been the fourth consecutive year when I am celebrating `Eid Al-Adha away from my home, Tariqullah Mehsud, a resident of Sararogha town of South Waziristan, told OnIslam.net.
Tariqullah had to leave his area following a military onslaught to uproot Taliban militants from the area.
Since then, he, like thousands of other refugees, has been unable to perform Udhiyah in line with the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).
I am, understandably, not in a position to perform the Sunnah of sacrifice on this `Eid too because what I am earning here is just sufficient to meet my family's daily necessities, Tariqullah, who is teaching in a private school and earns Rs 10,000 (110 dollars) per month, said.
I am expecting from Islamic charities, which have promised to provide meat on this `Eid, he said, referring to various Islamic charities that have arranged mass sacrifices for displaced tribesmen in different parts of the country.A number of Pakistanis perform Udhiyah through Al-Khidmat Foundation, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, Edhi Foundation, Maimar Trust and other Islamic charities to help the displaced people.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net