LAHORE - The Khyber Pakhtunkhawa government on Monday decided that Eidul Fitr will be celebrated in the province today (Tuesday).

“Masjid Qasim Ali Khan received over 112 testimonies (of moon sighting). The provincial government also received testimonies from different parts of the province,” Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said on Monday.

The KP governor and chief minister will celebrate Eid in Peshawar, he said. KP chief minister wants the whole province to celebrate Eid together,” he concluded.

For the rest of the country, the date of Eid would be announced after the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee would sight the crescent of Shawwal today.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have declared Tuesday as the first day of Eidul Fitr, Gulf News reported.

Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim country in the world in terms of population, has announced that the Eidul Fitr will be celebrated on Wednesday. Likewise, Japan and Malaysia have also declared their first day of Eid on June 5.

Fawad’s reaction

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry – who has recently prepared a lunar calendar, giving rise to hopes that the whole country would celebrate Eid on the same date under the PTI-led government – was remorseful and furious over KP government’s decision.

In a press briefing in Islamabad on Monday, he lashed out at the clerics for trying to detach science from religion, saying that they must employ “common sense” when it comes to sighting the moon.

“It is sad to see how our religious scholars have come out deeming science to have nothing to do with moon sighting,” he remarked.

Fawad said Muslims were pioneers in scientific research in various fields, adding that “the Islamic faith compels us to seek knowledge and apply it where ever possible”.

The minister said the moon for Eidul Fitr had been sighted at 3:02pm, adding that the altitude of today’s (Monday) moon was one percent with its luminosity recorded at 0.1 percent.

“You see the sun and moon are both moving in their own cycles and it is imperative to documents their movements,” he said.

“What about countries where the sun and moon don’t come out for days… should we just say that there’s no Eid or Ramazan in these situations,” Chaudhry added.

The minister said Islam was for the entire world not just Pakistan or a certain region. “We are recording all of this but does that mean we can see the moon, because the time the sun and moon set happens to coincide, so the moon can’t clearly be seen,” he said.

Fawad Chaudhry said that moon will be visible to all on Tuesday with those at the coastal regions of Karachi and Gwadar being even able to see it with the naked eye.

The federal minister shared that the meteorological department had opened all of its observatories for the general public so they could catch a glimpse of the moon.

The details, he added, had been shared on social media with addresses of closest observatories given.

Chaudhry had earlier said that in his opinion Pakistan could do away with the traditional moon sighting methods used by the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee to end the moon sighting controversy on all important Islamic festivals.

The National Assembly was informed that an amount of Rs3.06 million was spent on the sighting of the moon for Muharram, Ramazan, Eidul Fitr and Eidul Azha in 2018.

On May 31, the federal minister rolled out the country’s first moonsighting website as well as a mobile application to help understand the different cycles of the moon.

However, the ministry’s efforts to modernise the moon-sighting process have not been well received by all clerics and a last-minute change in the date for Eidul Fitr cannot be ruled out.