The sighting of the moon has become a controversy in Pakistan with secular politicians attacking the clergy of creating confusion in order to enhance their role and image in society.
The controversy is not new and for the past several years people of the North West Frontier Province have been celebrating their Eid aheaone day d of rest of Pakistan.
That is because the people in that province follow what the Saudi government says. Many other countries around the world also follow the Saudi announcement for sighting of the moon.
But the rest of Pakistan follows the announcement made by the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, headed by Mufti Muneeb Ur Rehman. This year, it became apparent that the committee had once again miscalculated the sighting as a result of which the holy month of Ramazan started a day late.
On this, many religious leaders said Muslims would have to make up for the lost fasting day after marking Eid.
Taking cue, a leader of the secular Awami National Party, which is in power in the North West Frontier Provience, said existence of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee was wrong and that Muneeb, “a remanent of the Musharraf era,” should be done away with.
In reply, Muneebur Rehman said politicians “should stay away from religious issues and mind their own business.” The war of words continues.
This week, a petition has been filed in the Pakistan Supreme Court praying for the formation of a high-powered competent committee for sighting of the moon and deciding for the Hijri calendar. But the debate to have outsiders in the committee continues.