Wednesday May 12, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated on Thursday, May 13, in Pakistan, the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee announced on Wednesday.
A meeting of the committee took place under the chair of Chairman Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad in Islamabad.
In a press conference, Azad said testimonies were received from Balochistan's Chaman, Killa Saifullah, and Pasni, Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh's Mirpurkhas, among other areas.
Azad wished everyone "Eid-ul-Fitr mubarak" and urged people to observe safety precautions during Eid and play their part in curbing the spread of coronavirus.
"It would be better if you place your hand on your chest when greeting people. Wear a mask, maintain social distance whether in the mosque or elsewhere," he added.
He said the zonal committees in different cities did well to verify the testimonies before forwarded them to the central committee.
The chairman also strongly condemned the barbaric actions of Israel against Palestinians outside Al Aqsa Mosque and said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Minister for Foreign Affairs had spoken on behalf of every Pakistani in their messages of solidarity with Palestine.
The chairman had stated his resolve to ensure that Eid is celebrated on the same day throughout Pakistan when he was appointed to the post and today said he prays the committee stays steadfast in this endeavour in the years ahead.
Prime Minister Imran Khan's Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said that the government had fulfilled its promise to the nation of celebrating Eid on the same day throughout the country.
"There was delay but we gave the people the gift of a singular Eid," he said.
Ashrafi added that the decisions on testimonies were made "in accordance with Shariah".
"The entire nation will celebrate Eid together after 20 years," he said.
The announcement was made after a long wait, at about 11:32pm.
As time drew close to 11 in the night, Ashrafi urged the nation to be patient, promising that the decision will be announced "soon".
He said that the decision will be "in line with the Shariah".
The zonal committees in Sukkur, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta ended their meetings earlier in the evening, declaring that the moon could not be sighted in the three cities.
In Peshawar, the zonal RHC meeting was held at the Auqaf Hall under the chair of Maulana Ehsaan, the chief of the Peshawar zonal committe and went on longer.
Maulana Ishaq, Qadri Abdul Rauf and Mufti Fazlullah Jan, Maulana Mohammad Ali Shah, Maulana Irshad Hussain and Maulana Abdul Baseer were also set to partake in the meeting.
The meteorological department in Peshawar said that due to an unclear atmosphere, there are slim chances of the moon being sighted in the city.
A local, unofficial committee, headed by Shahabuddin Popalzai claimed, however, that it has received 189 testimonies from several areas including Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi and Kohat.
Popalzai said that information regarding these testimonies has been forwarded to the zonal committee in Peshawar.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department had said that the crescent moon will be visible when it is 20 hours and 40 minutes old.
It added that in Pakistan there is no area where the moon coincides with this age, indicating the possibility that it may not be sighted today.
Officials from the meteorological department, Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), and the Ministry of Science and Technology also attended the central committee meeting.
Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, who was previously at the helm of the Ministry of Science, said the moon's age at the moment is 13 hours and 42 minutes.
The minister said there are "no chances of sighting the [Eid] moon today".
He added that people who wish to celebrate Eid with Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan should just say so.
"Ending the holy month on a lie is not a wise thing to do."
On Sunday Chaudhry had tweeted that Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated in Pakistan on Friday, May 14.
The minister had based his prediction according to the Ruet app and the calendar. However, Chaudhry had clarified in the same tweet that the final decision in this regard will be announced by the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.
The information minister said the moon will appear on May 13 and Eid will fall on May 14, according to the calendar and the moon sighting app.
A day earlier, the Meteorological Department had said that Pakistan would observe Eid-ul-Fitr on Friday, as there was "no chance" of citing the Shawwal moon on May 12, Wednesday.
If the moon is not sighted on Wednesday — Ramadan 29 — then the holy month would extend to 30 days, and the festival of Eid will be celebrated on May 14 — Friday.
The weather department said the new moon of Shawwal would be born on crossing conjunction point at "00-01 PST on 12-05-2021."