- Two eids yet again
Despite Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry’s attempt to have Eid on a fixed date the country will again have two Eids.
If the idea was to bring credit to the PTI by holding the Eid on the same day all over the country— a feat that no government had been able to perform— Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry has instead created dissensions in the PTI itself and got an egg on his face. If the aim was to shift the public focus from the bad press the PTI government was getting, Chaudhry has provided critics a new stick to beat the administration with. Worse still, PTI’s KP government has thrown into the dustbin the lunar calendar prepared by the minister and his scientific moonsighting committee and decided to observe Eid on Tuesday as advised by Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai on the basis of the conventional visual evidence. Interestingly the whole of Hazara and Malakand divisions ignore the moon-sighting announcement by Mufti Popalzai and follow the decision of the central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee headed by Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman. Instead of discretely pocketing the insult the Minister for Science and Technology insisted that there was no possibility of moon being sighted on Monday and accused the KP government of yielding to “falsehood.”
Meanwhile Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, the chief of the central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, has asked the minister to refrain from commenting on “religious matters” and appealed to the premier to let “only concerned ministers speak on religious issues”.
The PTI’s federal government has a centrist mindset as shown by its opposition to the 18th amendment and the 7th NFC Award. To make everyone observe Eid on the day proposed by a federal committee was also a reflection of the mindset. Democracy is incompatible with excessive, bureaucratic regimentation of social life.
The government has to resist the temptation to intervene in matters related to local customs, culture and religion unless these violate a law. Eid is a festival of joy and the people should be free to choose the date and the way they want to celebrate it. If they are happy with two Eids the government has no business to stop them.