Pakistan prepares first lunar calendar, says Eid will be on June 5

Pakistan's minister for science and technology Fawad Chaudhry launched his country's first lunar calendar in Lahore on May 26, 2019. (PID)
Updated 26 May 2019
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Pakistan prepares first lunar calendar, says Eid will be on June 5

  • The project was launched by the ministry of science and technology earlier this month
  • Many clerics believe physical sighting of the moon is obligatory ahead of significant religious occasions

LAHORE: Pakistan’s minister for science and technology Fawad Chaudhry launched the country’s first lunar calendar here on Sunday, announcing that Eid Al-Fitr, a Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan, would be celebrated on June 5.
Chaudhry announced his decision to finalize a five-year lunar calendar to determine the dates of Islamic religious occasions on May 7.
In a video posted on Twitter, he noted that there was always a controversy on the moon ahead of Eid, Ramadan and Muharram, wondering: “When modern methods are available, and we can decide on a definite date, then the question is, why do we not use the modern technology?”
On Sunday, while launching the moonsighting website and lunar calendar, he said it was only for five years, though it was possible go beyond that.
“We have only confined ourselves to five years since technology is rapidly changing and we may want to review things a little,” he added.
Harshly criticized by religious clerics for initiating the project, the minister said Pakistan did not need a moonsighting committee, traditionally manned by Islamic scholars, in his opinion.
“One should never fear new forms of knowledge,” he continued, saying that clerics would adjust to contemporary realities and find new roles for themselves.
The ministry has already sent the calendar to the Islamic Ideology Council, a constitutional body that advises governments on religious matters, and will also share it with the federal cabinet on Wednesday.


‘They have crushed our voices’, Kashmiris on not being allowed to pray

Updated 12 min 45 sec ago
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‘They have crushed our voices’, Kashmiris on not being allowed to pray

  • More than 3,000 people have been arrested from different parts of the valley, media reports
  • Most of the big mosques have been shutdown to avoid people amassing for a large congregation

SRINAGAR, Kashmir: A strange silence engulfs Kashmir valley three weeks after the abrogation of the Article 370 that ensured a special autonomous status for Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian union.
This is the silence enforced by the fear of the gun after arrests of a large number of politicians, activists, lawyers, businessmen, and commoners.
“I have been summoned at least four times by the Indian troops and harassed, barring me from offering my prayers. I requested them, explaining that no one indulges in agitation in this area...” Hafiz Altaf Ahmed Shah, an imam at the local mosque told Arab News.
Media reports suggest that more than 3,000 people have been arrested from different parts of the valley and put in special detention centers in the semi-autonomous state or outside.
For those spared or lucky to avoid arrest, a lurking danger looms if they resist – be it a cleric or a professor, male or female, exercising restraint is the only option left.
In Srinagar and outside, most of the big mosques have been shutdown to avoid people amassing for a large congregation – a potential recipe for resistance.
“Our three story mosque is usually at full capacity but today, only 10 to 12 people offered Friday prayers because of the curfew,” Shah said.
Small and medium-sized mosques are under constant vigil. The clerics of these mosques have been ordered to lie low and not lead prayers in their mosques.
“We are being subjected to injustice by the Indian government and the world is aware. But no one is speaking on these issues. They have shut down our communication. They have silenced and crushed our voices,” Shah said.
Watch this exclusive video by Arab News to get a sense of what’s happening in the area.