As another Eid draws near so too does the annual circus of the Royyat-e-Halal Committee roll into town. Tonight, all over the country eager eyes will turn towards their television sets awaiting the verdict of whether the moon has been sighted or not. Every year it seems this bit of plain observation requires more erudition and scholarly discussion than the finer aspects of particle physics. Debate will rage, storms in teacups will brew, fatwas and counter fatwas will be made and eventually some genius will seek to quell the firestorm by blaming it all on the Ahmadis. As always FATA will declare Eid a day early, the afore-mentioned committee will ooh and ahh late into the night before eventually deciding either that the moon has been sighted after all – sending housewives in the country into a manic frenzy over the next day’s preparations – or tell a downcast nation to retire to their beds and submit to one more day of fasting without taking into consideration that having been kept up so late – these poor souls might have a little problem waking up for Sehri.
What I don’t get and what irks me the most is how tiresome and unnecessary the whole charade is. Surely when the rest of the Muslim world have decided to using bona fide scientific methods to pre-determine when their Eid will be – it would not be too unwise for Pakistan to do the same. But alas these days wisdom and Pakistan seem to have about as distant a relationship as the Swiss have with minarets.
So let the posturing begin. Tomorrow we may be rejoicing and receiving nice plump envelopes of Eidi (I wish) or maintaining the discipline, restraint and obedience fasting so invariably demands of us. Either way, I for one, wish I could have found out a little bit sooner.