Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday launched what he said was Pakistan’s “first official” moon-sighting website and a calendar showing main Islamic dates and months for the next five years based on scientific evidence, according to which Eidul Fitr would be celebrated on June 5. The website, pakmoonsighting.pk, has been launched by Chaudhry’s ministry “to halt the moon-sighting controversy” that rears its head in the country every year prior to religious festivals. Named Moon Sighting Pakistan, the website features sections such as a monthly Hijri (Islamic) calendar for the next five years, a day-to-day lunar calendar against dates from the Gregorian calendar, and the dates on which the first day of every lunar month will fall. The minister said he had sent the five-year Hijri calendar to the Council of Islamic Ideology, adding that the calendar will be presented before the federal cabinet on Wednesday. “I personally believe that there is no need to have Ruet-e-Hilal Committee in the country.” He said that a number of departments had collaborated to make the moon-sighting website and calendar. Also available on the website are the scientifically determined dates for all major Islamic festivals/days for the ongoing and coming years. Users can access five-year data about the new crescent moon and monthly moon visibility maps on the site as well. Fawad had earlier this month announced that the lunar calendar was being prepared by a scientific committee formed by the government, showing the exact dates of important Islamic occasions, like Ramazan, Eidul Fitr, Eidul Azha and Muharram. He had also said the calendar would be finalised by the 15th of Ramazan. He said that a mobile phone app was also under preparation by the scientific committee after which people would also be able to sight moon on their smartphones. He had been severely criticised by the religious quarters for his recent statements on the role of clergy in moon-sighting.