Pakistan Ulema Council issues fatwa to postpone political, religious gatherings 'immediately'

Published March 17, 2020
A health worker checks a woman's temperature amid coronavirus fears at a counter at the Cantonment railway station in Karachi. — Reuters/File
A health worker checks a woman's temperature amid coronavirus fears at a counter at the Cantonment railway station in Karachi. — Reuters/File

The Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) on Tuesday said that in light of the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, all political and religious gatherings should be postponed "immediately". The direction was part of a fatwa issued by the PUC after a meeting presided over by Chairman Hafiz Tahir Sherani.

In the decree, religious scholars have told people to follow the measures issued by the government in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. The decree further says that Urdu sermons during Friday congregations should be discontinued while Arabic sermons should be shortened.

A safe distance should be kept between the rows of worshippers, who should pray on the floor — which should be washed with soap and water — instead of prayer mats. It would be preferable, the fatwa said, to pray in an open space. Furthermore, the elderly and the sick have been advised to pray at home.

The cleanliness of bathrooms and ablution sinks at mosques should be ensured and soaps and sanitisers should be placed for worshippers. Philanthropists have been asked to donate sanitisers, soaps and other cleaning supplies.

The decree further said that people should greet each other by saying Assalam Alaikum instead of shaking hands or hugging, as experts have advised against both practices.

The fatwa strictly forbade the hoarding of hand sanitisers, masks and soaps and directed people to report those who were involved in the practice. It also told people to avoid rumours as they spread fear.

So far, 212 cases of the novel coronavirus have emerged in Pakistan, a majority of which have been detected in Sindh.


Back to governance

Back to governance

While PDM has continued efforts to mount political pressure, it has been unable to force a crisis to challenge the PTI government.
Inequality virus
25 Jan 2021

Inequality virus

An Oxfam report calls for radical changes to the economic system.


Updated 25 Jan 2021

Where the buck stops

The rights to due process and security of person are accorded to every individual in this country.
25 Jan 2021

PPP’s plan?

THE PDM faces a fresh crisis as the PPP takes a conspicuously soft position on the long march. While the PDM talks ...
25 Jan 2021

Forward guidance

THE State Bank has taken the unusual step of issuing a forward guidance in its latest monetary policy statement to...
Updated 24 Jan 2021

Delayed olive branch

THE PTI government has finally mustered up sufficient political prudence to extend an olive branch to the opposition...
24 Jan 2021

Bureaucracy reform

WHILE the intention behind the endeavour may be lauded, the civil service reform package unveiled by the government...
24 Jan 2021

Minority rights

ON Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to safeguard religious sites around the world,...