KARACHI/PESHAWAR: Ramazan will begin in most parts of the country on Monday as, according to the central Ruet-i-Hilal committee, the moon was not sighted anywhere in Pakistan on Saturday.
Mufti Munibur Rehman, chairman of the central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, announced after chairing a meeting in Karachi that since the Ramazan moon was not seen anywhere in the country on Saturday, the holy month would begin on Monday (June 30).
He made the announcement at 9.30pm.
But in what has now become almost an unavoidable ritual in the build-up to Ramazan as well as Eidul Fitr, Mufti Shahabuddin Populzai, the self-styled chairman of an unofficial Ruet body, came up with a claim close to midnight that he had received “enough eyewitness accounts” to establish the sighting of the crescent. “The first day of Ramazan will, therefore, fall on Sunday (today).”
Around 30 religious figures attended the meeting. Among them were Mufti Syed Qamar, Qari Fiazur Rehman and Maulana Khairul Bashar.
Local ulema in Bajaur and Mohmand tribal agencies also said Ramazan would begin on Sunday.
Zonal Body's version
A member of the Zonal Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, Prof Dr Abdul Ghafoor, told reporters in Peshawar that his committee had received unconfirmed reports of crescent sighting from some parts of KP and the tribal areas. However, the reports could not be confirmed by the end of the meeting.
In reply to a question, Dr Ghafoor said the meeting of his committee ended soon after the announcement made by Mufti Munib in Karachi.
He said the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee had promised to wait until 11pm for a final report from his committee. “But the central committee made the final announcement at 9.30pm. There was no need to continue the meeting of our committee after that,” he remarked.
Local ulema in Mohmand Agency declared that Sunday would be observed as the first day of Ramazan in their areas.
Announcements were made in the agency through loudspeakers about the commencement of the holy month on Sunday.
In Bajaur Agency, ulema of three tehsils — Nawagai, Chamarkand and Mamond — said the first day of Ramazan would fall on Sunday. The decision was made at a meeting of local ulema.
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2014