K-P information minister suggests making Mufti Popalzai Ruet-e-Hilal chief

Cleric says he does not desire any post but wants decisions on moon-sighting as per Shariah


Our Correspondent June 04, 2019
K-P Minister Shaukat Yousufzai. PHOTO: PTI

PESHAWAR: In a bid to solve the moon sighting controversy once and for all, the provincial information minister has suggested appointing Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai of Peshawar as the head of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal (Moon-sighting) committee.

Mufti Popalzai is the Khateeb of the historic Qasim Khan Mosque in Peshawar and the head of the regional Ruet-e-Hilal committee. However, he has become controversial after his committee sighted the moon — which marks the beginning of the Islamic months — at different dates than the central moon-sighting body. As a result, Ramazan and Eid in parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) were observed at different times to the rest of the country.

Talking to The Express Tribune K-P Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said that if appointing Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai as the head of the central moon-sighting body solves the issue of two Ramazans and two Eids in the country, then no one should have any objection to it.

“We want the nation to stop observing two Ramazan and two Eids in the country,” he said, adding that this was a ‘Naya Pakistan’ and that it was high time that this issue is resolved.

He added that the provincial government will suggest this to the central government.

Yousafzai further said that Mufti Muneebur Rehman, the incumbent chairman of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, has admirably served in the post for an extended period and it was time that he took some rest.

“Appointing Mufti Popalzai as the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee chairman will also address the sense of deprivation felt by the smaller provinces,” he said.

When contacted, Mufti Popalzai stated that he did not desire any position, rather wanted a decision (regarding moon sighting for Ramazan and Eid) as per the Shariah.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2019.

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