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Govt Fails To Enforce Ban On Friday Prayers As Citizens Violate Restrictions

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The government’s ban on congregation prayers did not keep Pakistanis away from the mosques as many citizens defied the ban and flocked to the mosques. The government, fearing backlash, did not manage to stop those violating the ban.

In Karachi, several people defied the restriction and came to the mosque to offer Friday prayers. The police officials’ attempts to stop them failed.

Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan followed a strict lockdown. While Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with Islamabad are following a token lockdown.

Meanwhile, the churches and temples in Punjab and Sindh were voluntarily closed by the Hindu and Christian community leaders after an increase in Covid-19 cases,

As precautionary measures against coronavirus, Sindh government had imposed a ban on congregation prayers, including Friday prayer on Thursday, 26 March 2020. Sindh government spokesman Murtaza Wahab said only the mosque officials, including the Imam will offer prayers in the mosque and they will be closed for public. Moreover, only three to five people will offer prayers inside the mosque, “The decision was taken after consulting doctors and ulemas”, he added.

Earlier, the federal government had decided to ‘restrain’ Friday congregational prayers in mosques across the country as new cases of the novel coronavirus continue to emerge in the country.During a media briefing, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said, “It has been decided with consensus that Friday prayers will be ‘restrained’,” Only mosques’ administration staff and a limited number of worshippers will be allowed to pray inside mosques,” he added.

A few hours later, following the decision announced by the federal minister for religious affairs Dr Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, the Sindh Government has also decided to restrain congregation prayers amid Corona virus outbreak.

Earlier, while addressing a press conference, Ruet-e-Halal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman  alongside prominent scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani termed the coronavirus pandemic a warning from Almighty Allah ‘for our reformation’, but added that mosques will remain open and all prayers in the mosques will continue.

Meanwhile, the council of senior scholars at Al-Azher, Egypt’s top Sunni Islamic Institution had said that it is permitted under Sharia Law to suspend mass prayers, including the Friday prayer, to stem the spread of Coronoavirus. But Pakistani scholars were unconvinced to ban mass prayers.

President Dr Arif Alvi had also urged Ulema to advise and educate the people to stay indoors and offer their prayers in their homes to help contain spread of covid-19. The president emphasized that only solution to present crisis is to maintain social distancing and act upon the guidelines provided by Islam to cope with such situation.

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