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Pakistan

Web Desk
May 21, 2020

Eid-ul-Fitr congregations to take place in Sindh with virus safety measures: info minister

Pakistan

Web Desk
Thu, May 21, 2020
(L to R) Murtaza Wahab, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Hussain Shah address a press conference in Karachi on May 20. — Geo News 

Congregational prayers for Shab-e-Qadar, as well as Eid morning prayers, will be offered across Sindh with all necessary safety precautions enforced, Sindh information minister Nasir Hussain Shah announced on Wednesday. 

Shah said that ulema of various schools of thought will be consulted for the successful implementation of the decision, as he addressed a press conference in Karachi alongside Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab and Education Minister Saeed Ghani.

Speaking of the federal government's Tiger Force, which has begun volunteer work in the capital, Shah said he does not agree with the use of the word 'Tiger' in the coining of the name.

"There is nothing but bluster surrounding the Force [...] they will likely not make a real impact," said Shah, adding that they will welcome any force willing to make an actual difference.

The information minister said that the federal government "only finds faults in Sindh". He said that the Centre's wish to have a governor's rule imposed in Sindh "has been a longstanding wish of theirs".

He said that the Centre's offer to work together had been "nothing but lies and that too in the month of Ramadan".

Shah said that the federal government was "unable to stomach" the measures taken by Sindh under PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto's directives.

He said they "never poke holes in the performance of other provinces where they are in majority".

The information minister said they were all praise for the lockdown enforced by Pakistan and are now speaking against it and even have the sub-registrar offices open in Punjab.

In response to a question, Shah denied Sindh wanting to remove or suspend Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar. "We believe in democracy. We are also concerned over the Islamabad mayor's suspension. Whoever has the mandate, must be allowed to follow through in his term."

'Large open spaces to be identified'

Saeed Ghani, taking over the briefing, said that processions for Ramadan 21 had not been permitted after experts recommended against it and recognised that the ulema had followed the decision.

The education minister expressed concern that rules were being flouted in marketplaces.

"Now that the restrictions against large gatherings have been lifted, it will not be fair to disallow congregational prayers for Eid," Wahab, however, said.

He said that prayers will be held with strict adherence to the 20-point agreement made earlier between the government and ulema.

Ghani said that large open spaces such as grounds and parks will be identified for the purpose.

"If there is a large volume of people, the same venue will hold Eid prayers repeatedly."

IRSA member's removal 'unconstitutional'

Meanwhile, adviser to the Sindh chief minister on law, Murtaza Wahab, said that the Sindh government would write to the federal government to express it's reservations over the replacement of Sindh's representative at Indus River System Authority (IRSA).

"If our reservations are not addressed, we may approach the court in the matter," added Wahab.

The law adviser said that the federal government had "once more acted illegally in a matter pertaining to the [Sindh] province".

Taking great exception to the decision, he said that the Sindh representative of IRSA had been replaced without consulting the province in the matter.

"The law states that if a member has to be removed, it must be done so with consultation of the province," he said.

"And after consultation, if it is decided that the person must be removed, they must also be given a chance to be heard," Wahab added.

He said that "those speaking of the law again and again are repeatedly ripping it to shreds".

Wahab said that the Centre had not consulted Sindh and neither had Prime Minister Imran Khan taken Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah into consultation.

According to an APP report, in a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday, it had been noted that the performance of the members of IRSA from Sindh, Punjab and the Federal Capital was not up to the mark.

It was decided that an inquiry would be held against them and if found guilty, they would be replaced with efficient and honest persons who would ensure running of the telemetry system in a transparent manner.

That same day, according to a report by The News, the federal cabinet approved the removal of Punjab and Sindh's members from the authority.

Wahab, in today's briefing, said that every step taken by the PTI is a negation of the promises it had made in the past.

He said that the Cabinet decision was "unconstitutional".

"The decision was made to further their abhorent agenda," Wahab said.

Wahab said an emergency session of the Sindh Assembly had been convened today on the request of a few members. He said it was "shameful that these members did not speak a single word over the IRSA matter which was a clear violation of the law".

He said that the role of a speaker is non-partisan and he has the right to convene and dissolve an Assembly session.

Wahab said that opposition members in Sindh are "violating the SOPs laid out by the prime minister" and putting the journalistic fraternity at risk too.