Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai of Peshawar’s Qasim Ali Khan mosque Friday announced that Shawal moon was not sighted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and they will celebrate Eidul Fitr on Sunday (May 25).
Mufti Popalzai has a unique and odd precedent to dent the national unity to celebrate the religious festivals on the same day. For the last few years, Mufti Popalzai has been coming up with contradictory statements to official announcements.
This year too, Mufti Popalzai had once again divided the nation by declaring that the holy month of Ramazan will start on Friday, a day earlier than it was announced by the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee. The cleric said his decision was based on 9 evidences gathered by the mosque.
Hour earlier, Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman said at a press conference that moon was not sighted and the first day of Ramazan was observed on Saturday, April 25.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had also claimed that the experts believed Eidul Fitr to fall on May 24 in accordance with their calendar.
Fawad Chaudhry, while talking to overseas journalists, criticised the clerics once again regarding the moon sighting techniques. He said that Mufti Muneebur Rehman and Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai are standing on different paths.
However, this time Fawad seems to be on same planet as that of Mufti Popalzai.
However, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had predicted that Eidul Fitr, which marks the culmination of the fasting month of Ramazan, will likely to fall on May 25 (Monday).
Later, the Federal Ministry for Religious Affairs on Saturday stopped the Pakistan Meteorological Department from issuing any forecast about moon-sighting in connection with the Eidul Fitr.
The orders were passed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, directing the Met Office that it should help the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee in the moon-sighting process.
The Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will meet in Karachi next week on May 23 (Saturday) to sight the Shawal moon.
If the moon is sighted on Saturday, Pakistan would join the majority of Islamic World as the most of the Islamic countries are celebrating Eidul Fitr on Sunday. Traditionally, the Islamic month starts a day after Pakistan that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. So an Eid on Sunday is quite unlikely.