Eid to be celebrated across Pakistan on Wednesday as Shawwal moon sighted

Published June 4, 2019
The announcement was made by Mufti Muneeb after chairing a meeting of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee. — APP/File
The announcement was made by Mufti Muneeb after chairing a meeting of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee. — APP/File

Chairman Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman on Tuesday announced the sighting of the moon for the month of Shawwal, saying Eidul Fitr will be celebrated across Pakistan on Wednesday.

The announcement was made by Mufti Muneeb at a news conference in Karachi after chairing a meeting of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.

He said the committee received multiple testimonies of moon-sighting from across the country and is continuing to receive evidences.

Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman addresses a press conference on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman addresses a press conference on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

Several Middle Eastern countries and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are celebrating Eidul Fitr today.

Eidul Fitr celebrations mark the culmination of the Holy month of Ramazan during which Muslims all over the world observe 30 days of fasting.

Mufti Muneeb also addressed the controversy generated in recent weeks regarding moon-sighting in the country, saying "all acclaimed scholars have full confidence in the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee."

He noted that parts of KP will also celebrate Eid tomorrow, as will countries including Australia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India.

"I want to say whether it's the 18th Amendment or the 28th Amendment, these are all subservient to religion, religion will never be subservient to these," the scholar asserted.

He expressed displeasure at the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for allowing Eid to be celebrated in KP on a different day than the rest of the country. "I was astonished that the party (PTI) which has a government in the federation is deviating [from the norm] at the provincial government level. This is a most unusual event in Pakistan's history," he said.

Mufti Muneeb appealed to the electronic media to not consider Peshawar's Masjid Qasim Ali Khan, where controversial cleric Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai independently announces dates of religious festivals, as "the entire province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa".

"Will you remove the other areas from the province? That's why those who are appointed to government positions should fully favour the sensitivities of their roles," he said.

"[KP Chief Minister] Mahmood Khan sahib is not the first chief minister. Many others have come before him. All in all, whatever they did on the local level, they never let their decisions be the source of controversy for the whole country."

He then held up a clipping of an old news article from an Urdu newspaper dating back to 1981. The headline read: "Aside from Peshawar, Eid will be celebrated all over Pakistan tomorrow."

"This is not a matter belonging to the present time. This has continued since the creation of Pakistan," he said, referring to the disagreements that lead to religious festivals being celebrated on different dates in different parts of the country.

Mufti Muneeb then proceeded to name all muftis preceding him in the chairperson's position, saying that this "tradition of deviation" had persisted in all their tenures.

"In a country which got independence in the name of religion, those who are in power will benefit from siding with religion in matters which are purely religious in nature. If they do not have the courage to do so, then at the very least do not make things controversial."

'Serpents up the government's sleeve'

Mufti Muneeb emphasised that at this time, ulema "are not entrenched in a war against the government" anywhere in Pakistan. "The ulema are doing their jobs. And these ministers are like serpents up the government's sleeve as they are unnecessarily out to create a chasm between the ulema and the government.

"I also wish to place on the record that in Pakistan's history, no movement was ever successful in which the ulema did not participate. Which is why, we do not wish to seek a war with the government."

He urged the government to focus on doing its job."But in matters of religion, the government's job is to assist; this is what the customs of Pakistan demand."

The cleric stressed that they did not wish to create any sort of disturbance in the country, and offered his unconditional support for the armed forces of Pakistan.

"I want to assure the nation that we wish to see the country united but not at the cost of religion [...] Pakistan spans across a large region, it is not made up of one, two, or three cities."

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