islamabad - Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Wednesday held discussion on Pakistan Ruet-e-Hilal Bill. The meeting was chaired by Senator Maulana Hafiz Hamdullah.

Pakistan Muslim League (N) Senator Raja Zafarul Haq informed the committee about scientific methods used by other Islamic countries to decide citing of the moon.

The bill on Ruet-e-Hilal decides about the method for selection and tenure of Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal and prescribes a way for appointment of Ruet-e-Hilal committees at federal, provincial and district level.

According to the bill, it is suggested that the chairman Federal Ruet-e-Hilal Committee should be appointed for a term of three years and he should be selected from provinces on rotation basis.

Senator Maulana Tanveerul Haq Thanvi stressed that the bill should help promote religious harmony and unity in the country.

The officials of Religious Ministry briefed the committee members about the regulatory mechanism for establishment of the official and legally authorized Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.

 State Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Muhammad Aminul Hasnaat briefed the members about the arrangements made for Hajj this year. He told that the numbers of citizens who were opting for performing Hajj under the government scheme had been steadily increasing since 2013.

The increase was witnessed due to improved Hajj facilities given under the government scheme, he added.

The minister said after the census in the country, the ministry would hold talks with Saudi officials and ask for increase in Hajj quota for Pakistan according to its population.

At present Pakistan is getting a quota of 180,000 as according to a decision of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, every country can send one pilgrim against 1000 of its population.

The minister said about 17,000 Hajj cases under the government scheme were pending as the matter of quota of Private Hajj Group operators was pending in court.