The latest disagreement over the moon sighting between Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry and the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee has culminated in the former calling for the abolition of the moon-sighting body altogether. But while some might be quick to scoff at the idea, the Minister’s stance is centred on a logical foundation.

It is simple; the committee was formed for a very specific function – sighting the moon for Ramzan and the two Eids. But an institution is only effective if it provides an irreplaceable service. If this task can be performed by another ministry – with the sightings only becoming more reliable as a result – why have the committee at all, in this day and age?

The Ministry of Science and Technology is perfectly capable to chart a lunar calendar – in fact anyone can – and does not really need advice from a body that needs to physically see the moon in order for confirmation.

Holding on to arcane methods in the name of tradition is of no use to anyone. The Minister and the committee have been at odds several times in the past and if the only contribution of a body in the state’s business tends to create problems, it is time to move on.

By abolishing the Ruet-e-Hilal committee, the government stands to streamline processes and remove an unnecessary expenditure off its books. The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony can use these funds on working on promoting more religious freedom in the country; a task that requires constant work.

It is both a waste of time and energy when conflicts and the inability to agree on a single date for significant annual events ends up becoming a recurring issue. As the minister rightly said, it is perhaps time for us to work a little differently.