KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah directed the police department on Monday to withdraw all the FIRs registered against prayer leaders and others for violating the code of conduct made for Juma prayers.
He said: “We, in consultation with leading doctors and ulema of different schools of thought, have decided that due to the threat of coronavirus, the Juma prayers will be held amongst the imam of the mosque, the muezzin, khadim and two others, but unfortunately some people violated this code of conduct, as a result, the law took its own course.”
Mr Shah said that since the ulema raised the issue of registration of cases against them, therefore, he was right now directing the provincial police chief to withdraw the FIRs registered against the imams and other people all over Sindh.
‘I am requesting everyone to maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings and congregations’
Meanwhile, he asked the ulema to keep Juma congregations limited to five people as was agreed earlier.
The chief minister was presiding over a meeting of religious scholars of different schools of thought here at the CM House. The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Syed Nasir Shah, Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IGP Mushtaq Mahar, ACS-Home Usman Chachar, Prof Dr Abdul Bari and ulema, including Mufti Taqi Usmani, Mufti Imran Usmani, Mufti Zubair Usmani, Dr Adil, Maulana Imdadullah, Dr Saeed Sikandar, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Mufti Rehman Amjad, Mufti Abid Mubarak, Mufti Rafi-ur-Rehman, Allama Shahenshah Hussain Naqvi, Mufti Yousuf Kashmiri, Maulana Abdul Waheed and Mufti Abdur Rehman.
At the outset the chief minister said that the first case of coronavirus was detected in Sindh on Feb 6 and on the same day he held an emergency meeting and decided to close the schools. “The situation went on aggravating and we kept following the situation in our decisions,” he said and added that he announced 15 days holidays in government offices, closed restaurants, then shopping centres and finally decided to declare a complete lockdown because the number of cases was increasing.
The chief minister said: “Today, we have 508 cases, including 171 of local transmission, this is why I am requesting everyone to maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings and congregations.”
The chief minister said that the decision to limit ba-jamaat namaaz was taken after thorough discussion, debate and consideration with all the stakeholders. “The objective is to save our people from this disease and with the cooperation and support of ulema this has become possible,” he said.
“Alhamdulillah, our mosques are open, five times azan is given there and jamaat of limited people is also held there — this is what is required,” he said and added that after the threat was over, everything would become normal.
The chief minister once again urged ulema to keep announcing from mosques that the jamaat would be limited, therefore, urge the people to offer prayers at their homes.
Mr Shah said if he had not imposed the lockdown and not taken the extraordinary steps, the virus would have caused heavy losses in the province. “Yes, it has not been eliminated, but we have slowed down its spread and have contained it,” he said.
The chief minister told the ulema that the FIRs registered against them were being withdrawn and the sureties would be returned to the people who had already obtained bail from different courts.
The ulema eulogised the efforts of the chief minister and assured him of their full support in the war against the novel coronavirus.
Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2020