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Agencies
April 4, 2020

Limited Friday congregations held countrywide

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Agencies
April 4, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Police and LEAs on Friday enforced a countrywide lockdown to prevent people from offering the congregational Jumma prayers at the mosques amid increasing cases of coronavirus infection. The clerics belonging to different schools of thought and people strictly adhered to the guidelines announced by the government and supported by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). The Sindh government enforced a strict lockdown for three hours from 12 noon to 3pm to stop people from coming out of their homes to say the prayers, officials said. “In the greater interest of saving lives, a decision to ban the prayer congregations at mosques was taken following a meeting of clerics from all schools of thought. Islamic Sharia allows it,” said Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Sindh’s Minister for Local Bodies and Information.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has on Thursday had urged the people to pray at homes following the coronavirus outbreak and adhere to the safety guidelines of the government to contain the virus. "The value of human life has a special importance in Shariah and the religion of God gives it special importance," its chairperson, Dr Qibla Ayaz, said.

In Karachi, a mob pelted police vehicles with stones and attacked officers as they attempted to enforce a complete curfew to prevent people congregating during Friday prayers. Videos circulating on the social media show a mob chasing police patrol vehicles in Liaquatabad neighborhood. The authorities in Sindh had imposed a three-hour curfew. While most mosques and religious leaders followed the noon-to-3 pm lockdown, the cleric in Liaqatabad allegedly opposed it and called on his congregates to defy the ban. The imam was arrested after the congregational prayers. Ulema representing different schools of thought condemned attack on the police.

In Peshawar, eight cases were registered against 10 prayer leaders for not complying with the orders regarding social distancing on Friday. The ban came after last week when many mosques defied government requests to postpone Friday congregations to help in stop the spread of coronavirus infections.