Moon not sighted, Ramazan to begin on Saturday

Ruet-e-Hilal Committee meeting today for Zilhajj moon sighting

KARACHI: The Ruet-i-Hilal Committee on Thursday announced that the Ramazan moon had not been sighted. The holy month will begin in Pakistan on Saturday.
The committee held its meeting today under the chairmanship of Mufti Muneebur Rehman while meetings of other zonal and district committees were also arranged simultaneously.
The Ramazan crescent was sighted in Saudi Arabia, however, where the fasting month will begin on Friday, Arab News reported. It was also sighted in the United Arab Emirates, according to The National daily.
This year, the holy month will be observed amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought most countries to a halt. Pakistan, too, is struggling to cope with the challenge by trying to ensure social distancing to curb the spread of the virus while allowing business activities and religious congregations to continue.
While making the announcement at a press conference in Karachi, Rehman said it was mandatory for all imams and mosque administrations to ensure the 20-point standard operating procedures (SOPs) announced by the government for congregational prayers in mosques are followed.
He said mosque officials should ensure social distancing and sanitisation measures, and asked the elderly, children and people who are ill not to visit mosques.
Rehman noted that the government had reserved the right to close down the mosques that do not follow the agreed-upon SOPs.
He also said people will not be allowed to hold iftars at mosques this Ramazan.
A day earlier, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had ruled out the possibility of sighting the moon in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today, saying it will not be possible to spot the moon during sunset with telescopes.
He had confirmed this based on a computer-generated image showing the exact position of the moon.
The image was generated by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco).
“On April 23, the moon will only be 2 degrees above the horizon at sunset; it is impossible to spot the moon during sunset with telescopes. Therefore, if anyone living in Pakistan wants to fast with the people in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia it is up to them,” he had said.
The ministry had stated earlier that the Ramazan moon would be sighted nationwide on April 24 and the month of Ramazan will begin from April 25.
Chaudhry had also announced that for the first time in the history of the country, the science ministry had been given representation in the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.

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