Thursday Apr 23, 2020
After a newly formed Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee on Thursday said that the Ramadan moon had not been sighted, Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai in Peshawar announced he had received several testimonies.
The holy month will officially commence on Saturday in Pakistan. However, in a parallel announcement, Mufti Popalzai of Peshawar's Qasim Ali Khan Mosque has said that residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would begin fasting on Friday.
The mosque's local committee met today for the witnessing of the moon.
According to Mufti Popalzai, nine testimonies, including one by a woman, had been received.
Every year, Mufti Popalzai holds separate meetings for the sighting of the Ramadan and Shawwal moons and makes independent decisions, which are often in contradiction to official announcements.
The meeting of the Ruet-e-Hilal committee was held at the Met Office in Karachi and was presided over by Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman. A spokesperson had earlier said the meetings of the zonal committees will take place at the provincial headquarters.
According to the spokesperson, Islamabad’s zonal committee was to hold a meeting at the Kohsar complex.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department earlier in the day had said that the new moon will likely not be sighted today.
Member from science ministry included in committee
Meanwhile, for the first time in history, a member of the Ministry of Science and Technology has been included in the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.
Dr Tariq Masood, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology, has been appointed to the committee as a technical expert, according to a notification.
"Dr Tariq Masood, Joint Secretary M/O Science & Technology is appointed as member (technical expert) in the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee with Immediate effect until further orders," read the notification.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry took to Twitter to express his happiness at the decision. "For the first time in history of Pakistan, the Ministry of Science and Technology has been included in the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee," he wrote.
"This is a step in the right direction. Religious events are based on unity and blessings and we want to move forward with the same sentiments."
Earlier this month, Chaudhry had said that the moon will be sighted on April 24 as per the lunar calendar, marking the first fast of the holy month of Ramadan on April 25.