A newly formed Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee on Thursday said that the Ramadan moon had not been sighted.
Consequently, the holy month will commence in Pakistan on Saturday.
The meeting of the committee was held at the Met Office in Karachi and presided over by Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman. A spokesperson had earlier said the meetings of the zonal committees will take place at the provincial headquarters.
According to the spokesperson, Islamabad’s zonal committee was to hold a meeting at the Kohsar complex.
The moon sighting bodies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE will also meet today to decide the first day of the holy month.
Meanwhile, Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai of Peshawar’s Qasim Ali Khan Mosque had also announced that their local committee would meet today for the moon sighting.
Every year, Mufti Shahabuddin holds separate meetings for Ramadan and Shawwal moons and make independent decisions, which are most of the times contradictory to official announcements.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said on Thursday that the new moon will likely not be sighted today.
Member from science ministry included in committee
For the first time in history, a member of the Ministry of Science and Technology has been included in the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee.
Dr Tariq Masood, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology, has been appointed to the committee as a technical expert, according to a notification.
“Dr Tariq Masood, Joint Secretary M/O Science & Technology is appointed as member (technical expert) in the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee with Immediate effect until further orders,” read the notification.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry took to Twitter to express his happiness at the decision. “For the first time in history of Pakistan, the Ministry of Science and Technology has been included in the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee,” he wrote.
“This is a step in the right direction. Religious events are based on unity and blessings and we want to move forward with the same sentiments.”
Earlier this month, Chaudhry had said that the moon will be sighted on April 24 as per the lunar calendar, marking the first fast of the holy month of Ramadan on April 25.