Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has constituted a five-member committee to predict key dates and months of the Islamic Calendar, with an aim to put an end to moon sighting controversies in the country.

The committee will work to finalise the calendar to “indicate the exact dates of Ramzan, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha and Muharram for the next five years with 100% accuracy,” said a notification dated May 3, 2019 posted by the minister on his Twitter account earlier today.

The committee comprises Dr Muhammad Tariq Masood (Joint Scientific Adviser, Ministry of Science and Technology), Waqar Ahmad (Lecturer, Meteorology Department, CUI, Islamabad), Nadeem Faisal (Deputy Director, Meteorology Department), Abu Nasan (Deputy Director, Meteorology Department) and Ghulam Murtaza (DCM, SUPARCO, Islamabad). 

Chaudhry had earlier questioned the wisdom in spending large sums of money on moon sighting every year, saying that the Ruet-e-Hilal committee should carry out the sighting voluntarily.

Criticising the Ruet-e-Hilal committee, the minister had said up to Rs4 million were spent on the moon-sighting procedure every year, and that it was time to utilise science and technology to end the controversy. 

His statement had prompted a reaction from Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, the chairman of the the Ruet-e-Hilal committee, who appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to stop his ministers from commenting on religious matters.