ISLAMABAD: Pakistanis will celebrate Eid Al-Fitr on Sunday, the country’s central moon-sighting committee chairman, Mufti Muneebur Rehman, announced late Saturday after an intense evening of waiting for a verdict on the date of the biggest Islamic holiday of the year.
The Muslim majority country of 210 million people has for days been embroiled in a debate between the federal science ministry and the moon-sighting committee known as Ruet-e-Hilal, under whose purview the announcement for Eid traditionally falls. The committee meets in Karachi every year for the moon-sighting and Eid announcement.
But earlier in the day, across the length of the country in Islamabad, federal minister for science Fawad Chaudhry said Eid Al-Fitr would be celebrated in the country on Sunday according to calculations made by his ministry.
Addressing a press conference, he said his ministry was aiming to end the conflict over moon-sighting by relying on technology.
"Islam is a religion of knowledge and intellect. Whoever says technology should not be involved in moon-sighting, we reject their view,” Chaudhry said and added it would be the first time Muslim countries all over the world celebrated Eid Al-Fitr on the same day.
Following this, Pakistan’s minister for religious affairs said the final verdict on the sighting of the Shawwal moon remained under the jurisdiction of the Ruet-e-Hilal task force, which relies on the spotting of the moon with the human eye.
Pakistanis will celebrate a muted Eid this year amid a surge in cases and fatalities related to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a tragic plane crash that killed 97 people in its biggest city, Karachi, on Friday.