LAHORE: After a long time Pakistanis will be celebrating Eidul Fitr with the rest of the Muslims around the world as the central moon-sighting committee announced on Tuesday night that the Shawwal crescent has been sighted in different parts of the country.
Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Munibur Rehman announced the sighting of the Shawwal crescent, saying Eidul Fitr will be celebrated across the country on Wednesday. The mufti made the announcement after chairing a meeting of the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee at Aiwan-e-Auqaf in Lahore.
He said the chances of sighting the crescent moon on Tuesday were equally divided because of its short life. Members of the committee and technical experts assisting it used their expertise and with a unanimous decision they have decided to announce the sighting of the moon.
He said they received testimonies from Dera Ismail Khan, Okara, Sheikhupura, Gwadar, Hyderabad, Shikarpur, Lahore and various other cities. He said among the witnesses were religious leaders, professors and other well qualified and responsible people.
The announcement was made well past 9pm after Mufti Munib expressed his anger at news reports on some private channels that the Shawwal moon had been sighted even though the committee was in the session.
On Monday, the Gulf Arab countries announced that the Eidul Fitr will be celebrated on July 6 (Wednesday). Similarly, many countries, including the US, the UK, Australia and the UAE will observe the end of Ramazan on Wednesday.
The official news agencies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait quoted religious authorities as saying on Monday that the annual feast will begin on Wednesday after failing to sight the Shawwal moon that marks the start of the three-day festival.
Yemen, Indonesia, and the Philippines are also among the countries which announced Wednesday as the first day of Eid.
But Eid ul-Fitr will be marked on Thursday, 7 July, in some countries such as India, Bangladesh, Malawi and others. While most countries around the world will celebrate Eid either on 6 or 7 July, millions of Muslims in Turkey and Russia celebrated the festival on Tuesday, 5 July.
The starting day of Eid varies every year and from country to country depending on geographical location.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2016.