PESHAWAR   -   Head of the unofficial Ruet-e-Hilal Commit­tee of Qasim Ali Khan Mosque and religious scholar Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai has said he has no objection to the launching of Islam­ic calendar, but he said that Ramazan and Eid­ul Fitr must be observed after moon-sighting as per Shariah and Islamic injunctions.

In his reported media talks, he said that though no one had consulted him regard­ing Islamic calendar, but he must say that Ramazan and Eidul Fitr must be observed af­ter moon sighting.

“We welcome the launch of Islamic calen­dar. It should be displayed in government of­fices, public places and homes to know about Islamic (lunar) months and its importance in daily life,” he said.

Popalzai said the local unofficial Ruet-e-Hi­lal Committee would hold its meeting on 29th Ramazan at Qasim Ali Khan Mosque, Pesha­war, and if it received solid witnesses about moon sighting it would announce Eidul Fitr.

“The committee for moon sighting at Masjid Qasim Ali Khan has been holding its regular meetings since 1825. It nev­er announced Ramazan or Eidul Fitr with­out solid and Sharia evidence regarding moon-sighting,” he said.

He pointed out that there was no proper head or permanent members of the commit­tee based at Qasim Ali Khan Mosque but the local religious scholars regularly assembled at the mosque and received evidence and wit­nesses from the faithful across the province.

He said he had been under pressure not to hold separate meetings of the unofficial Ru­et-e-Hilal Committee for Ramazan and Eidul Fitr moon sighting.

In his media talks, he remarked that Federal Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry seemed more interested in finding space in the press rather than being serious about Islamic cal­endar.

Replying to a query, Popalzai said he re­ceived religious education from Sarhad Ma­drassa in Peshawar and had been delivering sermons as a Khateeb after his father’s death in 1983.

He admitted that last year he was forced to leave the country and had to go to Dubai, but still the local Ruet-e-Hilal Committee met at Qasim Ali Khan Mosque in his absence and took its decision. “It is not about an individ­ual making moon sighting decisions. We have a proper mechanism working for moon sight­ing since long at Masjid Qasim Ali Khan,” he concluded.