'Will fast one extra day as compensation': KP minister counters criticism for declaring Eid on Tuesday
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai on Tuesday hit back at Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry for criticising the provincial government’s decision to celebrate Eid on Tuesday (today) and terming it an “embarrassment”.
"I suggest that 'Mufti Fawad' focus on his work and not target the government and religious scholars," Yousafzai said.
He defended the KP government's decision to declare Tuesday as the first day of Eid, suggesting that while they were celebrating Eid on the correct day, the provincial government should have announced the beginning of Ramazan a day earlier.
"We started fasting as per the announcement of [Chairman Ruet-i-Hilal Committee] Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman but beginning the fast a day earlier would have been [more] accurate," the minister told DawnNewsTV.
"We will fast for one extra day as compensation for the fast [missed]."
He said it was a misunderstanding that the KP government had announced Eid on Tuesday on the instructions of Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, the Peshawar-based cleric who is frequently at the centre of controversies regarding sighting of the Ramazan and Shawwal moon.
The information minister revealed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been approached before announcing Eid in KP. "The prime minister responded that 'it is your matter and you understand it better'," Yousafzai added. According to local sources, nearly 70 per cent of the people in KP are celebrating Eid on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, Chaudhry while talking to Geo News had said it was impossible to sight the Shawwal moon on Monday (June 3).
“You can’t celebrate a religious festival on the basis of a lie,” the science and technology minister had said.
He criticised the KP government and termed the decision to celebrate Eid on June 4 as "inappropriate". He also advised the provincial government to refrain from becoming part of local disputes.
In response, Yousafzai later said, "Fawad Chaudhry is my friend but he doesn't need to teach me science."
Yousafzai today also criticised Mufti Muneeb, saying the cleric had raised objection over Chaudhry's efforts to celebrate Eid across the country on the same day. He claimed that Mufti Muneeb says "science has nothing to do with moon-sighting".
"Mufti Muneeb's statement on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project shows his disappointment," the minister said, claiming that Mufti Muneeb, instead of presenting arguments, says that the provincial government would not survive.
Yousafzai said that there were differences within the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee as well. "Mufti Muneeb should step aside as retirement happens in every job," he added.
KP announces Eid on June 4
On Monday, the KP information minister had announced that the provincial government after taking into account testimonies of moon-sighting from all over the province decided to celebrate Eidul Fitr on Tuesday.
The minister said that the government received a number of testimonies for Shawwal moon-sighting from the former federal administrative tribal areas.
Earlier in the day, the head of the unofficial Ruet committee, Mufti Popalzai, said 48 witnesses had turned up in Bannu, seven at Mirali (North Waziristan), three at Mardan, two at Charsadda, 15 at Lakki Marwat, 18 at Karak and four at Hangu.
As the sky in Peshawar and adjoining areas was cloudy on Monday, the body relied mostly on witnesses from other districts.