ISLAMABAD: The minister for religious affairs on Thursday announced the decision to form a committee for making standard operating procedures (SOPs) to remove the anomalies in the Ruet-i-Hilal Committees system.

The committee comprises Allama Mohammad Hussain Akbar, principal of Jamia Minhajul Hussain, Mufti Fazal-i-Jameel Rizvi and Mufti Faisal Ahmed of Jamiat-ul-Rasheed. A senior officer of the Space and Upper Atmosphere Rese­arch Commission (Suparco) will also be a member of the committee.

It will finalise a unified framework in consultation with Ulema and stake­holders such as the Council of Islamic Ideology, Pakistan Meteoro­logical Department and Suparco in a month. A consultative meeting for ‘Preparation of SOPs of Ruet-i-Hilal Committee’ was held here on Thursday.

Presiding over the meeting, Minister of Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said a bill to streamline the moon sighting procedures, titled ‘Pakistan Ruet-i-Hilal Act, 202l’ has been submitted in the National Assembly, and it was expected to be enacted by the end of March.

Ramazan is expected to commence in the first week of April.

Taking to Dawn, a senior official of the ministry of religious affairs said moon-sighting has become the most controversial non-political subject in recent years.

The draft Ruet-i-Hilal Bill has made it mandatory that provincial as well district level committees will be established so that the witnesses could contact them at the local level.

Under the law all non-government and private moon-sighting committees would be illegal and the relevant district administration could take actions against them.

Those giving false evidence regarding moon-sighting are liable for imprisonment up to three years or a fine up to Rs50,000 or both.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2022

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