"Diwali was celebrated across Pakistan. We held prayers for the safety and well being of Pakistan as this is our land," Jethanand Kohistani, President of Pakistan Hindu Council said.

Sindh is home to most of Pakistan's small Hindu community, which numbers about two million among a population of roughly 180 million.

In Islamabad, the small Hindu community burst firecrackers, distributed sweets and adorned their homes with lanterns and sparklers to celebrate the festival of lights.

The Hindu community in Jacobabad had decorated the city giving it a bridal look, while the community in Hyderabad celebrated the festival of lights with all the enthusiasm, media reported.

Special prayers were held at the 30 temples in Dadu district, including the main Punchayet Hall. They also prayed for the security and integrity of the country.

In Thar, the community lit up oil lamps outside temples, their houses and pooja ceremonies were held all over the desert.

Diwali celebrations were also held in Multan where the youths came out in large numbers rejoiced and danced on the roads and resorted to aerial firing in ecstasy.

The children in Rahimyar Khan lit up oil lamps and stoked up on firecrackers, the report said. However, Dawn reported that Diwali was not celebrated with the traditional fervour this time in the garrison city of Rawalpindi as the religious minority feared violence akin to the Peshawar Church bombings last month.

Most Hindu families in the city made arrangements within their homes to celebrate the three-day Diwali festival, it said.

"Traditionally, Hindu women make a Rangoli at the doorsteps with coloured powder. The colours are a symbol of life and wealth. We make Rangoli to welcome guests and gods who pray for the prosperity of the family while crossing colourful patterns," said Sita Kumari, a Hindu girl in the garrison city.

However, she said this time around, her family did not even make the Rangoli at the doorsteps to avoid their identification fearing violence from militants.

"Though we (Hindus) are not a stakeholder in the war against terror, we are celebrating our festival amid a sense of fear," she was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

Jagmohan Kumar Arora, another Hindu said the community feared an attack as the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) had not provided any security to Krishna Mandir so far.

"The local police have asked the Hindu community to arrange for security guards, Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and walkthrough gates for any congregations or weekly pooja (worship)," he said.

However, Arora said a written application had been forwarded to the ETPB but the request fell on deaf ears.

"The board provided a security guard without any arms, while no walkthrough gate or CCTV camera was provided," he said.

On Sunday, President Mamnoon Hussain greeted Hindus on the occasion of Diwali, saying the government was committed to the welfare of the minority communities.

"On this auspicious occasion, I sincerely wish that may the celebrations of the day bring more festivity and happiness in the lives of all those, who commemorate this day," he said in a message.

Hussain said the government was committed to continue its efforts for the welfare of the minorities and to safeguard their fundamental rights, safety, honour, life and properties.


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