LAHORE - In the modern-day world, we the Pakistanis are probably going to set a world record by celebrating three Eids.

The onset of Ramazan on the same day this year had in fact raised hopes that the whole nation would celebrate this day of deliverance on the same date, but the Eid controversy spread beyond all past limits with as many opinions as scholarly mouths.

People in North Waziristan, Bajaur and Khyber agencies, and parts of Charsadda district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), celebrated Eidul Fitr on Saturday, this time even leaving behind the Saudis. In rest of the KPK and some tribal areas, Eid is being celebrated today (Sunday), while in most parts of the country it would be celebrated on Monday (tomorrow).

We were used to celebrating two Eids since this has been the practice for the last few years, but this three-Eid phenomenon has left most people of this Muslim majority nation wondering as to whom they should follow.

Staff Reporter from Peshawar adds: People in North Waziristan, Bajaur and Khyber agencies, and parts of Charsadda district, particularly Shabqadar tehsil, on Saturday gathered at mosques and open places to offer Eid prayers. They then greeted each other and exchanged Eid wishes.

Earlier, a local ulema committee headed by Qari Muhammad Roman met on Friday in a mosque in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, and announced Eid on Saturday. The committee said they had received six evidences of crescent sighting from Miranshah, Mir Ali and Haider Khail. Likewise, in some localities of Charsadda district, Eid was celebrated on Saturday, after some clerics of Matta Mughal Khel, Shabqadar and Panjpao union councils reported sighting of moon on Friday.

Except for these areas, the Shawwal moon was not sighted anywhere in the world, not even in Saudi Arabia. According to the Met Office, there was no chance of Shawwal moon on Saturday too anywhere in Pakistan and Eidul Fitr will most likely fall on Monday.

And this was what Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Munibur Rehman announced on Saturday night after a meeting of the committee in Karachi. He said the Shawwal moon was not sighted anywhere in the country; therefore, Eidul Fitr would be celebrated on Monday.

But minutes after that announcement the Peshawar zonal Ruet-i-Hilal committee announced they had received almost two dozen testimonies of moon sighting in the KPK and declared to celebrate Eid on Sunday (today). The traditional dissenter, the unofficial moon-sighting committee of Peshawar’s historic Masjid Qasim Ali Khan, also declared Eid today (Sunday).

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government endorsed the decision of the zonal committee and Masjid Qasim committee and announced to celebrate Eidul Fitr today. Talking to the media at Qasim Ali Khan mosque, Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour complained that once again the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee did not accept their evidence.

Bilour further said: “Our committees have received 24 evidences. I, on behalf of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and the chief minister, announce that we will celebrate Eid on Sunday. We represent masses therefore the provincial government has decided to celebrate the festival along with its people. When central committee don’t accept our moon-sighting evidences then why should we accept their decision?”

Interestingly, an unofficial ruet-i-Hilal committee in Chaman, Balochistan also announced to celebrate Eid today.

A metereologist said in a TV programme that there was no chance of the moon being sighted anywhere in North Waziristan or nearby areas on Friday, as was claimed by some ulema there. And media reports said the authorities had arrested Qari Muhammad Roman, under whose chairmanship Eid was announced on Friday in Waziristan and some other tribal areas.

The official zonal ruet committee in KPK that held its meeting at Auqaf Hall criticised the central committee’s saying that they (the central committee) ended its meeting earlier than its scheduled time and did not wait for their decision.

Sheikhul Hadis Maulana Ihsanul Haq while talking to media said that “we have received evidences and information regarding Shawal moon-sighting from Malakand, Kark, Bannu, Mardan and Regi area of Peshawar and were receiving more information but they didn’t wait for us”.

Maulana Ihsan said that he zonal committee then discussed the issue with the provincial minister for Religious Affairs Namroz Khan, asking him to request Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti to announce Eidul Fitr at provincial level. He added that they were also satisfied with the testimonies received in Qasim Ali Khan mosque as it is according to Shariah.

Earlier, the unofficial moon-sighting committee led by Mufti Shahbuddin Popalzai operating in Peshawar for years, held its meeting in Masjid Qasim Ali Khan. Mufti Popalzai announced that Shawwal moon had been sighted at several places in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He announced that he and his colleagues had received 23 testimonies including one of a woman.

Meanwhile, the local ruet committee of Mardan led by Hafiz Hussain Ahmad that convened its meeting in Mohib Baba mosque also announced that it had received 15 evidences of Shawal moon sighting. Jamiat Ulema-i- Afghan Charsadda also announced to celebrate Eid on Sunday.