No solution

Published January 13, 2022

IN an attempt to address what is a perennial problem, the government has introduced a bill to regulate the system of moon-sighting. Unfortunately, instead of tackling the root of the problem — which lies in relying on an outdated and unnecessarily complicated method for moon-sighting — the bill appears to only give more powers to the moon-spotting committees in an attempt to please the religious lobby with little mention of a scientific or technologically-led way forward. If the bill becomes law, ‘false evidence’ of moon sighting will result in a jail term and a fine. The proposed 16-member committee will include clerics, as well as a science and technology expert, but thus far it is not clear what method will be followed. At present, there is no structured law that regulates the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee and the current set-up has been functioning under the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The moon-sighting controversy has been ongoing since the Ayub era and is cause of much frustration and panic due to last-minute announcements of the sighting of the crescent that marks the beginning and end of Ramazan. In the late ‘60s, clerics refused to follow a scientifically determined formula when the former dictator decided that military commanders would determine moon-sighting. Today, the system still relies heavily on the Ruet-e-Hilal committee to collect witness accounts of moon sightings in a manner that is both unscientific and archaic. Fawad Chaudhry was right to try to do away with this system when he was minister for science and technology, and his introduction of a website and an android application for the sighting of the moon made perfect sense. Instead of creating more committees to further complicate an already controversial system, the government should focus on making the moon-sighting process a seamless one that considers scientific evidence. For far too long different parts of the country have ended up celebrating Eidul Fitr on different days due to the absence of a streamlined system. This is an opportunity to end the confusion.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

An inexplicable delay
03 Oct, 2022

An inexplicable delay

AFTER a flurry of activity a couple of months ago, geared towards filling the vacancies in the apex court — an...
Dire situation
Updated 03 Oct, 2022

Dire situation

If there is any time for the civilian leadership to show unity, it is now.
Russian annexation
03 Oct, 2022

Russian annexation

AS Russia and the West play a zero-sum game in Ukraine, Moscow’s official annexation of four Ukrainian regions it...
Spy games
Updated 02 Oct, 2022

Spy games

The audios leaked so far appear to have been carefully curated: they apply pressure but do not do major damage.
‘Geopolitical football’
02 Oct, 2022

‘Geopolitical football’

THE US-China rivalry is by all measures one of the globe’s most dangerous competitions for power and influence. ...
Fuel price reduction
02 Oct, 2022

Fuel price reduction

ISHAQ Dar is back; so are his signature policies. The reduction of a little over 5pc in fuel prices announced by him...