Bill tabled in NA to end moon sighting controversies

Three year prison sentence and PKR 50,000 fine for false moon-sighting witnesses, says the bill.

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In a bid to end the moon sighting controversies around key festivals like Eid, the Pakistan government has decided to impose three-year imprisonment and a PKR 50,000 fine for anyone who announces the false moon-sighting before the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.

The moon-sighting problem in Pakistan is a socio-religious challenge as many religious affairs(Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha) are directly linked.

In this regard, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs, Babar Awan, presented the Pakistan Ruet Hilal Bill 2021.

The submitted bill primarily aims to tackle the formation of a Federal Ruet Hilal committee, led by recognized Ulema and scholars from all schools of thought.

The bill authorizes only the chairperson of the federal committee or his nominee to announce the sighting of the moon. The bill proposes a fine of PKR 50,000 for anyone violating the law.

According to the bill, the federal committee will comprise 16 members, the chairperson, and two Ulema from each province, including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

Moreover, a grade-20 officer from Met Office, a science and technology specialist, a spokesperson of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, and an official of the director-general level from the Ruet Hilal Affairs division will act as the secretary of the committee.

The bill has proposed a complete ban on any other council formed by individuals under any name for sighting of the moon for the commencement of each Islamic Hijri calendar month.

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