PESHAWAR: Masjid Qasim Ali Khan’s Imam (prayer leader) Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, who has an undisputed reputation for making headlines at the beginning and the end of Ramazan has once again pulled it off, that is to say Pakistan will have two Eid-ul-Fitrs this year too, Samaa reported.
Popalzai, around midnight flooded the media with claims that Shawal crescent has been sighted in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa therefore the lunar month of Ramazan has ended.
Popolzai told the media after a meeting of his self-styled eagle-eyed moonsighting squad that plentiful evidence had poured in from parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in this regard.
“After sizing up enough credible moonsighting testimonies, which we have received until now, we are conclusively positive that Shawal moon has risen visibly, thus Eid-ul-Fitr falls on Monday”, said Popalzai in a statement issued here.
According to an analyst, as a part of promoting Arabization of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, some clerics want the people of the province to celebrate Eid with Saudi Arabia as the moon-faced Popalzai refused to consider any 'eyewitness account' until Riyadh had issued a statement for the same.
The provincial government has yet to come up with a reaction to Mufti Popolzai’s announcement.
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) and Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) had already concluded that sighting of moon on the evening of Sunday, July 27, was out of question.
Under lunar prediction program, Suparco carries out major academic research in lunar theory and conducts scientific studies on the astronomical appearances and mathematical motion of the moon. The program's main goal is to assist the ministry of religious affairs for moon sighting to declare the religious holidays, observances, and festivals based on the lunar calendar.
The Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, headed by its government appointed chairman, is assisted by the officials of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Suparco and the active-duty personnel of Pakistan Navy. The chairman of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee presides the final meeting and is final arbiter on announcing the official moonsighting and the observances of the religious holidays.
Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Meets On Monday
Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will meet in Karachi Monday evening for sighting crescent of Shawal-ul-Mukarram 1435 A.H.
Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman will preside over the meeting to be held in the building of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Camp Office Karachi.
At the end of the meeting, Mufti Muneeb will announce the decision of crescent sighting or otherwise subsequently on the basis of information received after evaluating the evidences.