Unlike the past, Muslims in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will mark the start of the holy month of Ramazan together with the rest of the country, as no one came to testify before the zonal and unofficial moon sighting committees till late Tuesday.
But earlier, K-P minister for religious affairs, Habibur Rehman, and provincial government spokesperson Shoukat Yousafzai said that only the official Zonal Ruet-e-Hilal committee had the authority to receive moon sighting testimonies. They also urged people to testify only before the official committee and not unofficial ones.
The Zonal Ruet-e-Hilal Committee held its meeting at Auqaf Hall, while the unofficial Masjid Qasim Ali Khan moon sighting committee held its meeting at the historic Masjid Qasim Ali Khan to receive moon sighting testimonies.
The meetings, which began right after sunset, waited till late Tuesday night to receive sighting testimonies. However, no reports came either from Peshawar or elsewhere in K-P of the sighting of the moon.
Later, following the decision of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai of Masjid Qasim Ali Khan announced that the first of Ramazan will be observed on Thursday along with the rest of the country as the moon was not sighted in K-P.
For years, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has observed the beginning of Ramazan and Eidul Fitr following the rulings of the Masjid Qasim Ali Khan committee.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.