ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee on Tuesday reiterated their resolve to build consensus to observe Eid and fasting on the same days.

“We want to create consensus regarding sighting of the moon with the help of science,” Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry told Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Maulana Abdul Khabir, who called on him here, according to a statement.

The statement from the federal minister came two days after he clarified that the announcement of moon sighting for the advent of Ramazan would be made by the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee under the laws of Pakistan. “But the foundation of our future depends on science, technology and education. We must employ technological innovations for effective decision making.”

These comments from minister’s came a day after his tweet in which he announced that the Ramazan moon will be sighted on April 13 and Ramazan 1 will be on April 14.

His tweet once again stirred a controversy as religious circles, including the newly-appointed chairman of the committee, expressed their annoyance over it.

Maulana Azad had said the country faced a serious image issue due to the many announcements related to moon sighting in the past.

He said the state had authorised the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee to make the final announcement related to the new moon for commencement of Islamic months.

“Minister Fawad Chaudhry sahib should have waited for the meeting of the committee. Besides, a senior officer of the science ministry is a member of the committee,” Maulana Azad had said.

Nonetheless, the meeting between the federal minister and the chairman of the committee took place warmly.

In his response, Maulana Azad accepted the invitation from the ministry of science to attend the inaugural ceremony of a moon observatory on April 12. The ministry is setting up the first moon observatory in Islamabad. The minister invited everyone, even children, to go there and observe the moon.

“We are taking these measures keeping in view the needs of the future,” the minister had said.

The visiting delegation was given a demonstration of the Ruet mobile application and how it worked, and the chairman of the Ruet committee praised the services of the minister in the field of science.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2021

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