For the first time in years, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the rest of the country will begin observance of the fasting month of Ramazan on the same day.
“Ramazan moon has been sighted, the fasting month will start from Saturday,” Mufti Muneebur Rehman, the chairman of the central moon-sighting committee, said in a televised statement late Friday.
Earlier the committee, officially known as Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, met at the Pakistan Meteorological Department in Karachi. Mufti Muneeb presided over the meeting.
According to him, the moon of the holy month of Ramazan was sighted in different parts of the country, including D I Khan, and first Ramazan, 1433 Hijri, will fall on Saturday.
Minutes after the announcement, an unofficial moon-sighting committee in Peshawar, which has a huge following, quite unexpectedly followed suit.
The decision by the committee that meets at Qasim Ali Khan mosque was unexpected because it has traditionally differed with the central moon-sighting committee.
“Four people, two from Palosai village and two from the Walled City testified before the committee around 9:30pm that they have sighted the crescent moon,” Mufti Shahbuddin Popalzai told journalists at the mosque.
“It’s a good omen that Muslims in Pakistan will begin observance of the holy month together,” the mufti said.
The committee comprised Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, Maulana Sahfiqur Rehman, Maulana Sirajul Islam, Maulana Khairul Bashar, Mufti Habibur Rehman and Maulana Syed Qamar.
The official zonal moon-sighting committee, which also met in Peshawar, could not confirm the sighting of the Ramazan moon. (With additional input from APP)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.