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Agencies
April 4, 2020

Limited Jumma congregations countrywide

Top Story

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Agencies
April 4, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Police and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) Friday enforced a countrywide lockdown to prevent people from offering the congregational Jumma prayers at the mosques amid the increasing case of coronavirus infection.

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.

Over 2,600 corona positive have surface in the country —the highest in South Asia. The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has on Thursday urged people to pray at home following the coronavirus outbreak and adhere to the safety guidelines of the government to contain the virus.

The council threw its weight behind the government’s decision to ban congregational prayers for more than five people.

“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, according to the statement.

Ayaz urged people to stay at home to practice social distancing and called upon them to follow safety precautions provided by the state institutions and medical experts.

He emphasised that people should not perceive that mosques were being locked up but at the same time urged the places of worship to adhere to the government’s instructions on limiting congregational prayers.

The CII called upon the government to seek cooperation from imams rather than locking them up so that they could fight the virus with the authorities’ help. It added that the spread of the coronavirus was not linked to any one religious group or sect.

“Whether it be Umrah pilgrims, zaireen of holy sites or members of the Tablighi Jamaat, none are associated with the spread of this disease.

Individual negligence that has taken place in this regard should be treated with lawful and logical steps,” said Ayaz.

The council paid tribute to the international organisations, medical experts, and health professionals battling the virus at present and those engaged in seeking a cure for the pandemic. It urged the affluent to keep in mind the religious minorities in Pakistan and help them out during this crisis.

Meanwhile, 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 in Karachi.

Videos circulating on the social media from the southern port city show a mob chasing police patrol vehicles in Liaquatabad neighborhood on Friday.

When the police tried to stop a Friday congregation at a mosque forcibly in Karachi’s Liaquatabad, the residents reacted violently.

Ulema representing different schools of thought condemned attack on the police. The mosque imam was arrested after the congregational prayers concluded.

In a bid to stop people from congregating for Friday prayers, authorities in the southern province of Sindh, where Karachi is the capital, had imposed a three-hour curfew. While most mosques and religious leaders followed the noon-to-3 pm curfew, a cleric in Liaqatabad allegedly opposed it and called on his congregates to defy the ban. 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.

Last week, a government order calling on clerics to keep their congregations limited to five people was widely ignored.