The religious affairs ministry has decided to enact a new legislation regarding the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee and frame a law regarding the Hajj and Umra in order to provide legal cover to the matters related to the pilgrimage.
According to sources, the ministry has sent a draft law, regarding the moon sighting body to the relevant committee of the ministry for consideration. After receiving recommendations of the committee, the draft would be restructured and forwarded to the law ministry.
The sources revealed that the proposed legislation suggested that no one would be allowed to announce the moon sighting on their own. Punishments and fines had also been proposed for those who would announce the moon sighting, unilaterally.
The Ruet-e-Hilal Committee was formed through a National Assembly resolution in 1974, but since then no rules had been made for it. In 2003, then president Pervez Musharraf appointed Mufti Muneebur Rehman as its chairman, who still holds the office.
The committee members are appointed by the religious affairs ministry. However, recently, the science and technology minister raised objections to the committee, therefore, the religious affairs ministry included a representative of the science and technology ministry as one of its members.
“Now the government has decided that formal legislation will be enacted regarding the committee,” said a source. “The new law will include the committee’s own rules and regulations, as well as legislation regarding the appointment and tenure of its chairman and members,” the source added.
Once cleared by the law ministry, the sources said, the draft legislation would be placed before the federal cabinet for its approval. Later it would be presented in the National Assembly as a bill for its passage. Until then, the sources added, Mufti Muneeb would continue as the committee chairman.
On the other hand, the religious affairs ministry has also decided to enact legislation related to Hajj and Umra, which would propose rules and regulations regarding the process of the journey to the holy land, according to the sources.
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