PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday turned down an application for restraining the chairman of Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee from making any announcement regarding the sighting of the Shawal moon.

The bench of PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Abdul Shakoor was hearing a writ petition filed by a freelance journalist Shahid Orakzai, seeking directives of the court for the government to liquidate the committee and to declare that its chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman was not competent to regulate the Hijra calendar.

Along with the writ petition, the petitioner had also given an application for interim relief, requesting the court to restrain the chairman from making any announcement regarding sighting of the Shawal moon.

Petitioner seeks directives of court for government to liquidate the committee

However, the bench sought reply from the committee chairman in the main writ petition and rejected the petitioner’s request for interim relief.

The petitioner claimed that the chairman of Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, Mufti Muneebur Rehman had plunged Pakistan in religious controversy by delaying the month of Ramazan for 24 hours.

The petitioner requested the court to declare that the Muslims of Pakistan, who did follow the declaration of the chairman about Ramazan moon should compensate for the lapse in accordance with the Holy Quran.

The petitioner states that for all practical purposes, the unaccounted 24-hour shall remain part of the month of Ramazan. “Those hours cannot be washed away by any means or switched to another month,” he added.

The petitioner contended that the high court may, therefore, ask the respondent if he would be willing to correct and readjust the Hijra calendar on the basis of the full moon, which occurred later this month.

He said that by the Quranic mathematics and estimation, the duration of every lunar month was to be determined by the number of days counted between two full moons. The committee, he stated, on the contrary, was unaware of the laid down system in the Quran.

He claimed that unless and until the 24 hours were duly adjusted in the month of Ramazan, the respondent was likely to spoil Eidul Fitr for the whole of Pakistan. He added that the lost 24 hours were bound to delay the sighting of Shawal moon in Pakistan as compared to other Muslim countries of Asia and the Middle East.

The petitioner said that the petition was filed primarily to avert any wrong pronouncement by the respondent about the Shawal moon and seek a declaration from the high court about the lapse regarding the Ramazan moon and obligatory recompense by the Muslims of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2019