Even as the total tally of coronavirus cases in Pakistan on Sunday reached 7500, Imran Khan government has decided to keep mosques open during the month of Ramadan. However, it has said that certain restrictions will be imposed. The decision was announced by President Arif Alvi after meeting religious leaders.
“This is conditional permission for Taraweeh and Friday prayers in congregations in the mosques,” Pak President Arif Alvi announced, adding that 20 guidelines had been mutually agreed with the clerics which included keeping six feet distances between worshippers, the removal of carpets, disinfection of mosque floors and cooperation with authorities.
This comes even as Faisalabad chief of Tablighi Jamaat died of coronavirus in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Friday. The government in Pakistan is struggling to control clerics flouting lockdown orders against congregations in mosques. While President Alvi on Friday held talks with Jamaat-i-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith chief Senator Sajid Mir and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Rana Tanveer Hussain over prayer congregations, PM Imran Khan is also expected to meet the religious leaders.
In stark violation of the government orders, a cleric of Red Mosque had been holding regular Friday congregation in the heart of capital Islamabad. Maulana Abdul Aziz refused to cooperate and the government was unable to remove him from the pulpit of a mosque which is owned by government's religious affairs ministry. The government has said that only five worshippers including those who are associated with the affairs of the mosques are allowed to offer congregational prayers.
The Ministry of National Health Services reported that 143 people have died so far. Another 1,832 have recovered. The largest province of Punjab registered 3,391 patients, followed by Sindh with 2,217, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 1,077, Balochistan 335, Gilgit-Baltistan 250, Islamabad 163 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir with 48 patients. The ministry showed that so far 92,548 tests have been conducted, including 6,416 in the last 24 hours. The steady rise continued despite hectic efforts to contain the spread.