Senate body decides to draft Ruet-e-Hilal Constitution


In a bid to resolve the conflict on Ramadan and Shawal moon-sighting among followers of different sects of Islam, a sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Monday decided to draft a constitution for the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee which had failed to do so since its establishment in 1974.
“Though the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee was set up in 1974 under a resolution passed by the National Assembly, no rules and regulations for the functioning of the committee had been drafted in writing. Finally, the committee has decided to draft a constitution to streamline all matters of the moon-sighting body. This will help evolve a consensus between the clerics of different sects over the moon sighting for Ramadan and Shawal,” Senator Dr Khalid Mahmood Soomro, the convener of the committee, said.
He said the focus of the constitution would be to evolve consensus for sighting of moon and to simplify the fasting process besides celebrating Eidul Fitr on same day across the country. The committee would hold talks with the followers of various sects. The first interaction in thies regard would be held in Peshawar in which prominent clerics from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be invited to submit their recommendations to resolve the issue amicably, he added.
“It is unfortunate to note that in past 39 years, neither the ministry nor the committees took any step to remove flaws from the moon sighting procedure being followed on verbal directives of its central chairman,” he added.
The committee members also grilled the officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, asking why had the number of Ruet-e-Hilal Committee members been increased from nine to 15. They also observed that most of the Ruet-e-Hilal members were not prominent clerics, which was a violation of the 1974 resolution passed by parliament.
The members also objected to the prolonged tenure of Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman, who was presiding for almost 12 years. “This is also a violation of the minitsry’s decision taken in 1974 as under the law… a chairman can be appointed for a period of three years only,” Soomro said.
He said a questionnaire would be prepared following the next meeting in consultation with the clerics which would be sent to the central, district and zonal Ruet-e-Hilal committees, heads of Wafaq-ul-Madaris and prominent religious leaders belonging to various schools of thought for their suggestions.
“Following their proposals, a consensus draft of the constitution would be prepared and sent to the concerned quarters for its approval,” he said. Minister for Religious Affairs Khursheed Shah and Mufti Rehman could not attend the meeting due to their other engagements.
Senator Zahid Khan also attended the meeting besides Mufti Shahabuddin of Jamia Masjid Qasim Ali Khan, Peshawar, Ministry of Religious Affairs Secretary Shaukat Hayat Durrani, representatives of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Meteorological Department attended the meeting.
Shaukat Durrani said the Religious Affairs Ministry only facilitated the Ruet-e-Hilal committees in holding meetings for moon sighting.