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Moon controversy: Central committee’s sitting in Peshawar likely to be ‘fruitless’



PESHAWAR: People in parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) are likely to celebrate Eidul Fitr on the announcement of Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai on the day Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will be looking to sight the Shawwal moon in Peshawar.

However, the Federal Ministry for Religious Affair has decided to make arrangements for the central committee in Peshawar to sight the Shawwal moon with an aim to celebrate Eid on the same day across the country.


A letter issued from the religious ministry, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, requested the federal information ministry to make necessary arrangements for broadcasting the final decision which will be announced by Mufti Muneebur Rehman.
“The central committee’s meeting will be held for sighting the crescent of Shawwal on the evening of June 25 (Sunday), in the office of Administrator Auqaf Hall Peshawar,” the letter read, adding that the director media is requested to make adequate arrangements for live coverage of the final decision of committee chairman Mufti Rehman.


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The arrangements are being made to celebrate Eidul Fitr on the same day across the country by the federal government, however it’s feared that Eid would be celebrated on the day the central committee would sit to sight the moon as the local committee of Masjid Qasim Ali Khan led by Mufti Popalzai would sit on June 24 to sight the Shawwal crescent.

“We will complete 29 fasting days on June 24 and then our committee will sit in the evening to sight the Shawwal moon,” one of the members of the Masjid Qasim Ali Khan committee told The Express Tribune, who wished not to be named.

Furthermore, the member said that the central committee hasn’t consulted Masjid Qasim Ali Khan committee nor have they any concern with them.

“They [central committee] may sit either in Karachi or Peshawar, but we will sit on the evening of June 24 to sight the Shawwal moon,” he said.

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The K-P government was also confused about dealing with the two committees in the same city. Speaking to The Express Tribune, K-P Minister for Religious Affairs Habibur Rehman lamented that the federal government was responsible for the moon controversy.

Rehman said that the federal government has been asked time and again to come up with a proper legislation but all had gone in vain. “We cannot jail Popalzai or stop him from holding a meeting to sight the Shawwal moon owing to lack of legislation in this regard.”

However, he said that the K-P government would provide support to the meeting of the central committee in Peshawar and he, as a religious affairs minister, would be present.

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