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KARACHI: The Sindh government has limited Taraweeh congregation prayers in mosques during the month of Ramazan in wake of a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in the province.
In a late night video message, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah urged people to offer the Taraweeh and Friday prayers at home. “We have taken the decision after consulting with doctors, medical experts. I request Ulema to cooperate with the government,” he said.
The chief minister said that mosques will remain open and Taraweeh prayers will be offered as usual but only the staff, around four to five people, will be allowed to participate. He said the government was compelled to take the difficult decisions as the coronavirus pandemic will expand if the measures are not taken.
He said doctors and health experts in Karachi had expressed their concerns during a press conference and similar sentiments were shared by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA). He added that the next fifteen days would be crucial and a stricter lockdown would be imposed in the province.
He said that shops that were not following the standard operation procedures (SOP) have been shut. He added that small traders were cooperating and have been allowed to deliver their products to customers, but warned that no one would be allowed to visit shops in markets.
The chief minister said that he had spoken to President Arif Alvi in this regard and had received his nod for the decision. The president told him that it was up to the provincial government to make the decision.
CM Sindh said that the decision does not deviate from the agreement reached between the federal government and the Ulema about congregational prayers in mosques. He said the agreement allowed the provincial governments to change the decision if the situation appears to worsen.
Earlier on Thursday, President Alvi reminded that there are certain conditions under which congregational prayers have been allowed in mosques under the 20-point agreement reached between the ulema and the government.
The president underscored that religious scholars have fully entrusted the provincial governments to implement their lockdowns or decide on conditions under which prayers will be held in mosques. He reminded people that they are urged to pray at home.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah announces lockdown on Friday & announces SOP for Taravih….. pic.twitter.com/GSzaWZB3gJ
— CMHouseSindh (@SindhCMHouse) April 23, 2020