Pakistan has been celebrating two Eidul Fitrs almost every year. The reason is that while the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee announces that Ramazan moon has not been sighted anywhere, a particular mosque in Peshawar, which follows Saudi Arabia to start the holy month of fasting, comes up with a different decision. It starts the month a day before the rest of the country and also celebrates Eid when the rest of the country is still fasting.

This year, fortunately, the month of Ramazan has started simultaneously across the country. And it is hoped that Eidul Fitr will also be celebrated the same day, provided there is no difference of opinion on the sighting of the Shawwal moon.

But this year the nation will be celebrating two Independence Days.

Some newspapers published on Monday an advertisement given by Milli Yakjehti Council (MYC) President Qazi Husain Ahmed that heads of parties representing all religious schools of thought have decided to celebrate the Independence Day on 27th of Ramazan i.e. on August 16 (Thursday).

Through this ad Imams, Khateebs and people at large have been appealed to pray for the country on that day. The advertisement appeared only a day before August 14, the day when the nation celebrates the Independence Day anniversary of the Islamic Republic.

Apparently, it is a good idea to celebrate the day according to the Islamic calendar. But for this purpose, the MYC should have taken the entire nation along. It should have held consultations with other political parties, sought their views and then reached some consensus. Those not agreeing with the idea should have been given an opportunity to come up with their arguments and then the MYC should have countered them with what it believes a weightier and more cogent reason. A decision taken after such an exercise would have been easier to implement.

To evolve a consensus on such an important matter, the MYC should have started a debate long ago. But it has floated the idea out of the blue without following any such course. And the ‘decision’ became public when the nation had already made preparations to celebrate the day on August 14. In the prevailing conditions floating of such an idea will only create a new controversy in a country which is already passing through a really difficult period in its history.

True that Pakistan had gained independence on 27th of Ramazan, but so far the nation has been celebrating the day according to the Gregorian calendar. All programmes for Tuesday have been finalised. All offices will remain closed and national flags will be hoisted on all important buildings.

If the MYC celebrates the day two days later, who will take part in the ceremonies? All government offices will be working as usual, the state functionaries performing their functions, with hardly any knowing that they were working when they should have been celebrating the Independence Day.

Interestingly, a ‘researcher’ said recently that Pakistan Day Resolution had been adopted on March 24, 1940 – not on March 23 – and, therefore, the day should be celebrated according to his research. He argued that the resolution had been moved on March 23 but adopted a day later. Thank God the research was not given much importance and was ignored by everyone.

If we continue to unsettle the settled issues, we’ll not be doing any service to the nation. The country has already myriad problems needing urgent attention. When those issues are addressed, we can afford to open new fronts. Otherwise, we will only be adding to the confusion.