The country is celebrating Eidul Fitr on Thursday with religious zeal and fervour amidst Covid-19 measures.
Eid prayers were held in open spaces across the country with the implementation of Covid-19 SOPs to avoid the spread of the pandemic.
Special prayers were offered on the occasion for the well being of the country along with prayers for the Muslims of Palestine and Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
In a late-night announcement on Wednesday, the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, which met in Islamabad, declared Eidul Fitr would be celebrated across the country on today as the Shawwal moon had been sighted.
After decades, Pakistani Muslims would observe the holy festival along with their brethren in the rest of the world including those in the Arab nations, the US, Canada and most Southeast Asian countries.
At around 11:30pm, Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad, the committee’s chairman, made the announcement.
“The Shawwal moon has been sighted. Eid will be celebrated tomorrow [Thursday],” he said.
He added that zonal committees had received testimonies from all over the country and the decision was made "unanimously".
"We received testimonies from Chaman, Qilla Saifullah, Peshawar and many other localities including some in Sindh," he explained.
Maulana Azad pointed out that similar to the month of Ramazan, the entire country was celebrating Eid on the same day.
The cleric also asked citizens to pray for the Muslims in Palestine facing Israeli oppression, in view of the recent attack on worshippers at Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.
Besides religious scholars from various sects, representatives of the science and technology ministry, the meteorological department and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) attended the meeting which lasted for four hours.
Separate meetings of zonal and district Ruet committees were also held at their respective regional headquarters.
Earlier on Wednesday evening, there were sightings reported from Swabi in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Dasht and Turbat areas of Balochistan.
Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Senator Sarfraz Bugti tweeted that the moon had been sighted in Sui area of Balochistan's Dera Bugti district by a notable, Haji Islam Bakhlani, sharing his cell phone number.
Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, Khateeb of the historic Qasim Khan Mosque in Peshawar, had already declared Eidul Fitr would fall on Thursday after claiming to have received 175 testimonies.
"Thursday, May 13, will be the first day of Shawwal," Popalzai announced earlier in the evening, urging the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee to follow suit and accept their testimonies.
Special Assistant to the PM on Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Affairs Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi urged citizens to wait for the committee’s decision, which would be “according to Shariah”, and later after the announcement congratulated the nation on one Eid across the country.
“It took time but the nation received the gift of one Eid,” he wrote on Twitter.
Separately, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry maintained the age of the Shawwal moon in Pakistan was 13 hours and 42 minutes at present and it was not possible to see the crescent today.
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