NA passes bill declaring unofficial moon-sighting liable to punishment

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly of Pakistan has passed “The Pakistan Ruet-e-Hilal Bill 2022” bill declaring unofficial moon-sighting by private bodies liable to punishment.

The bill was moved by Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan in the absence of Religious Affairs Minister Talha Mehmood. “The Pakistan Ruet-e-Hilal Bill” had been pending in the lower house of parliament since 2021.

According to the bill, no committee, entity or organisation by whatever name called, other than the federal, provincial and district committees for sighting the moon, shall operate in all over Pakistan or any part.

Under the new bill, the announcement of moon sighting can be made only by the chairperson of the Federal Ruet-i-Hilal Committee or any member of the committee authorised by the chairperson.

Violators of Act will be fined Rs500,000 whereas those making false evidence of moon sighting shall be imprisoned for three years and fined Rs50,00, the bill said.

“Any TV channel which makes announcement about the moon sighting before the official announcement by the federal committee will be fined Rs1 million or its licence will be revoked,” it said.

The meeting of the Central Ruete-Hilal committee shall be convened by its chairperson on the 29th day of each month or at any time on his own or as directed by the division concerned.

Under the bill, apart from the federal committee, provincial and district committees will also be constituted.

The provincial Ruet e Hilal Committee will comprise 13 members, Islamabad-based committee seven, while the district committees will consist of six members.