Fact-check: Does the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee cost the exchequer Rs7 billion?

The yearly budget for the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee is between Rs3 million to Rs5 million, not Rs7 billion

Geo Fact-Check

Online posts have falsely claimed that the government department, which announces the sighting of the new moon, spends a whopping Rs7 billion per year and has over 3,000 employees.


“Ruet-e-Hilal Committee’s 3,400 employees have an annual expenditure of Rs7.43 billion,” alleged a Facebook user on March 13.

The post had been shared over 1,800 times on the social media platform, at the time of writing.

A similar claim was shared by another user, with the addition that the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee works only three days a year.


Ruet-e-Hilal Committee has only 21 central members, not 3,400. None of them receive a salary, confirm officials. While the yearly budget for the Committee is between Rs3 million to Rs5 million, not Rs7 billion.

Abdul Qudoos, director of the research and reference wing of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, under which the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee operates, told Geo Fact Check that there is a general section in the ministry which deals with the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee and the Quran section.

“This section consists of an officer, a staff, a typist and an assistant,” Qudoos said.

In addition to these four employees, the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee has 21 central members, including Islamic scholars and officials from the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), Ministry of Science and Ministry of Climate Change, the Ministry of Religious Affairs officials told Geo Fact Check.

While the director further clarified that the budget for the moon-sighting department was an estimated Rs3 million for the year, which was not disbursed as salaries but to meet the travel expenses of the Committee members.

“The [department] holds four [central] meetings annually, in Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhu al-Hijjah and Muharram,” he added.

Abdul Khabeer Azad, the chairman of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, also told Geo Fact Check that there are only 21 central members, who are not paid any salaries.

“We are only given economy class tickets for the airplane or the bus,” he said, “And food and stay at a local hotel for one day.”

This was further confirmed by Mufti Raghib Naeemi, a central member from Lahore, and Abdul Ghafoor, a central member from Peshawar.

Separately, even in the federal budget, for the financial years 2022 and 2023, the amount allocated for moon sighting services is Rs5 million, not Rs7 billion, as was being claimed online.

With additional reporting by Muhammad Binyameen Iqbal.

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