The moon-sighting issue in Pakistan is a socio-religious challenge as many religious events(Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha) are directly related to it. In a bid to put an end to the moon sighting controversies around key festivals like Eid, the Pakistan government is imposing a three years imprisonment and a Rs 50,000 fine for anyone who announces the false moon sighting before the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan introduced the Pakistan Ruet Hilal Bill 2021 on behalf of the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri.
The proposed bill mainly aims to tackle the formation of a Federal Ruet Hilal committee, led by recognised Ulema and scholars from all sects and schools of thought which has a history of announcing Eid and the start of Ramazan.
The bill authorises only the chairperson of the federal committee or his nominee to make an announcement regarding the sighting of the moon. The bill proposes a fine of up to Rs50,000 for anyone violating the law.
The federal committee, according to the bill, will comprise 16 members, including the chairperson. The federal committee will consist of two Ulema from each province and Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir; a grade-20 officer from Met Office, a science and technology expert and a representative of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission and an officer of the level of director general from the Ruet Hilal Affairs division of the ministry, who will act as the secretary of the committee.
The bill has suggested a complete ban on any other committee formed by individuals under any name for sighting of the moon for commencement of each Islamic Hijri calendar month.