Moon sighting: 50 Pak Muftis issue edict against rebel cleric

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LAHORE: More than 50 muftis in pakistan issued a fatwa on Friday against Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai of Masjid Qasim Ali Khan saying that he always announces the start of Ramazan and Eid celebrations a day before the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.

The muftis, including Muhammad Imran Hanfi, Mufti Muhammad Hasib Qadri, Mufti Pir Syd Karamat Ali and Mufti Muhammad Abdul Sattar Saeedi, issued the fatwa on the request of Muhammad Ziaul Haq, head of Ittehad Ummat Islamic Centre. They said Popalzai’s actions were unethical, illegal and violative of sharia. They said observing the fast or celebrating Eid based on Popalzai’s announcements was a violation of sharia. They also said that in the presence of the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, announcing the start of Ramazan or Eid celebrations separately in Peshawar amounted to interference in state affairs, The Express Tribune reported.

The muftis said that under the law, only the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee could make announcements regarding moon sighting. They said the citizens who happened to have sighted the moon should inform the committee. Others, including Popalzai, should inform the committee about those claiming to have sighted the moon. They said arranging a dialogue with Popalzai was like negotiating with the Taliban. “It is a waste of time,” they said.

The muftis said that instead of holding talks with Popalzai the government should act against him in accordance with law. They said all Muslim sects were represented in the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee. They said Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority should not allow the coverage of announcements by Popalzai

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