Sindh Govt Announces Lockdown This Friday from 12 – 3 pm, Decision For Future in Saturday Meeting
The Sindh government has announced a complete lockdown in the province for this Friday, 17 April, from 12 noon to 3 pm. Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah stated that he had secured the cooperation of the ulema “so far” and that on Saturday, 18 April, a meeting will decide new Standard Operationg Procedures (SOPs) for the future.
The CM has been meeting Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman and scholars from different sects. For this Friday, his conclusion was:
“Everything will be closed during the lockdown, while mosques will remain open for limited congregation,” he said.
He also stated that his administration had instructed police officials not to take strict action against those who insist on going to mosques, but that the government appealed to the public to cooperate in this matter: “The people should refrain from praying in the mosques,” he said.
For his part, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman hopes that the upcoming meeting on Saturday would reach a consensus, resulting in a plan for holding congregational prayers in the future.
Mufi Muneeb appealed to people and religious leaders to cooperate with the authorities on this Friday and ensure that no untoward event takes place.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri had earlier invited Mufti Muneeb to the upcoming Saturday meeting where they hope to reach a final decision on Friday prayers and Itekaf observances for the month of Ramazan. He noted that leaders from all sects would be taken aboard in this meeting.
Meanwhile, a number of religious leaders held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, announcing that mosques will no longer be observing the government’s mandated lockdown. Religious leaders like Mufti Muneeb and Taqi Usmani have urged the government to show restraint when dealing with people who insist on gatherings at mosques. They have also urged worshipers to practice ‘social distancing’ at mosques: including the wearing of masks.