PESHAWAR: The first of Ramazan will be observed in some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including the merged tribal districts today (Monday) after announcement of moon-sighting by the unofficial committee led by Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai on Sunday night.

The local unofficial committee held its meeting at Masjid Qasim Ali Khan in Peshawar where eight witnesses personally came to record statement, while 14 others recorded evidence on telephone.

Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai said after the meeting that first Ramazan will be observed today (Monday) after the committee received 22 witnesses. He said all the witnesses were credible. The witnesses hailed from Peshawar, Bannu, Karak, Mohmand and Bajaur.

After announcement by Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, announcements were made in the mosques about the moon-sighting in mosques in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal districts. Many other people had already made their mind to observe first Ramazan today (Monday) as Saudi Arabia had announced so.

Majority of the Pashto-speaking people in KP follow Masjid Qasim Ali Khan for observing Ramazan and celebrating Eid. However, the people in Hazara and Malakand divisions of the province and in parts of Peshawar city follow the announcement of moon-sighting made by the official Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee led for the last many years by Mufti Munibur Rahman. The people residing in the Cantonment areas in the province also follow the official committee’s announcements. People of Kohat, Chitral and Swat also tend to follow the official committee.

On the other hand, many in KP and merged districts, and Afghan refugees in Pakistan also follow Saudi Arabian Islamic calendar for observing Ramazan and Eid.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the first Ramazan would begin officially on Tuesday as per the announcement of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee. This committee made its announcement earlier after concluding that no credible witness about moon-sighting was received from anywhere in the country.

In some areas of KP and tribal districts, where people are following the Saudi calendar, also performed Namaz-e-Taraweeh in their mosques.

A controversy also erupted when Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudire made a statement that a committee has been formed to make Islamic calendar for Pakistan for next 10 years to end controversies on moon-sighting. However, this statement was rejected by Mufti Munibur Rehman saying that the minister lacks knowledge about religion.

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