Controversy mars Eid | Pakistan Today

Controversy mars Eid

–KP CM, info minister say PM Imran endorsed decision to celebrate first day of Eidul Fitr on Tuesday

–Mufti Muneeb criticises PTI govt for allowing Eid to be celebrated in KP on a different day than rest of country

–Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry says KP govt ‘embarrassed’ Centre by announcing Eid on Tuesday

KARACHI/PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in the Centre was left red-faced when the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government decided to celebrate Eidul Fitr on Tuesday while the recent of the country will celebrate it on Wednesday (today) in accordance with the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee’s (RHC) announcement.

Eidul Fitr was celebrated in some areas of KP on Tuesday and prayers were offered in Peshawar, Nowshera, Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi, Hangu, Bannu and merged districts of the tribal areas. However, people of Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Kohistan, Battagarm, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, Buner, Malakand, Chitral, Lower Dir, Upper Dir and Shangla districts decided to celebrate the religious festival on the call of RHC. The same sentiment was shared by people residing in cantonment and interior city.

KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said that the provincial government had received many testimonies of moon-sighting after which the government’s decision was announced. The provincial chief executive offered Eid prayers in Peshawar while Governor Shah Farman opted to celebrate the religious festival with the federal government and stayed at Governor House where Eid prayers were not held.

In addition, members of Karachi’s Bohra community also celebrated Eid on Tuesday.


Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai hit back at Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry for criticising the provincial government’s decision to celebrate Eid on Tuesday and terming it an “embarrassment”.

“I suggest ‘Mufti Fawad’ focus on his work and not target the government and religious scholars,” Yousafzai said.

He defended the KP government’s decision to declare Tuesday as the first day of Eid, suggesting that while they were celebrating Eid on the correct day, the provincial government should have announced the beginning of Ramzan a day earlier.

“We started fasting as per the announcement of [Chairman Ruet-i-Hilal Committee] Mufti Muneebur Rehman but beginning the fast a day earlier would have been [more] accurate,” the minister said.

“We will fast for one extra day as compensation for the fast [missed].”

He said it was a misunderstanding that the KP government had announced Eid on Tuesday on the instructions of Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, the Peshawar-based cleric who is frequently at the centre of controversies regarding sighting of the Ramzan and Shawwal moon.

The information minister revealed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been approached before announcing Eid in KP. “The prime minister responded that ‘it is your matter and you understand it better’,” Yousafzai added.


On Monday night, soon after the official announcement by the KP government, Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who had been involved in a spat with RHC and the country’s clerics over his suggestion of using modern techniques for moon-sighting, lashed out at the provincial government, terming it as an “embarrassment” to the country and regretting that the Muslims had distanced themselves from the legacy of early Muslim scientists by separating religion and science.

Speaking at a television programme, the federal minister said that it was impossible to see the Shawwal moon on June 3 and the KP government had made an inappropriate decision by announcing early Eid.

He said that KP government, through its decision, had promoted the perception that lies are supervised by the state itself in the country. He said that the government does not get involved in religious dispute and an important religious festival like Eid should not be based upon lies.

He hoped that the issue of moon-sighting would be resolved eventually as the clerics accepted printing press, railway and loudspeaker after years of opposition. “We should take out some time to contemplate the reasons behind the success of those countries who secured freedom around the same time as Pakistan and we would get our answers,” he said.

Taking a jibe at the clerics, the federal minister said, “Even Luqman al-Hakeem had no cure for ignorance.”


Meanwhile, after announcing the sighting of the Shawwal moon on Tuesday, Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman addressed the controversy generated in recent weeks regarding moonsighting in the country, saying “all acclaimed scholars have full confidence in the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.”

He noted that parts of KP will also celebrate Eid on Wednesday, as will countries including Australia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India.

“I want to say whether it’s the 18th Amendment or the 28th Amendment, these are all subservient to religion, religion will never be subservient to these,” the scholar asserted.

He expressed displeasure at the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for allowing Eid to be celebrated in KP on a different day than the rest of the country.

“I was astonished that the party (PTI) which has a government in the federation is deviating [from the norm] at the provincial government level. This is a most unusual event in Pakistan’s history,” he said.

Mufti Muneeb appealed to the electronic media to not consider Peshawar’s Masjid Qasim Ali Khan as “the entire province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”.

“Will you remove the other areas from the province? That’s why those who are appointed to government positions should fully favour the sensitivities of their roles,” he said.

“[KP Chief Minister] Mahmood Khan sahab is not the first chief minister. Many others have come before him. All in all, whatever they did on the local level, they never let their decisions be the source of controversy for the whole country.”

Eidul Fitr celebrations mark the culmination of the Holy month of Ramzan during which Muslims all over the world observe 30 days of fasting.

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