In meeting with Sindh chief minister, ulema signal support for 12pm-3pm lockdown tomorrow

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah Thursday announced that a complete lockdown will be observed in the province tomorrow (Friday) from 12-3pm after a meeting with ulema who signalled their support for the decision.
In a meeting with Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman and scholars from different sects, the CM Sindh said: “I thank all the ulemas for cooperating with us so far. Hopefully, on Saturday, as agreed with the federal government, new SOPs will be drafted for the mosques.”
“Everything will be closed during the lockdown, while mosques will remain open,” he said.
“I have told police to not take strict measures against people going into mosques during the lockdown[…] In the meantime I appeal to the public for cooperation,” he said.
“The masses should refrain from praying in the mosques,” he said.
Mufti Mueeb said that he hoped that a meeting between various stakeholders on April 18 would reach a consensus, and a future road map would be drawn for congregational prayers.
The top cleric appealed to the masses and scholars to cooperate with the authorities tomorrow — as several people gather to offer the Friday prayer — and ensure that no unfortunate event takes place.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, a day earlier, had invited Mufti Muneeb to attend a meeting on April 18 where a joint decision over Friday prayers and Itikaf will be taken.
On Tuesday, Qadri, had urged ulema to develop consensus rather than take individual decisions. He said that clerics from all sects would be taken into confidence in the meeting on April 18.
Ulema from various schools of thought held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday to declare that the lockdown will no longer be implemented at mosques.
Mufti Muneeb had said that Tarawih prayers and Itikaf would continue as per schedule. He had called on people coming to mosques to practice social distancing.
Meanwhile, Mufti Taqi Usmani had urged the government to not arrest people from within mosques. “All those who have been arrested [for coming to mosques] should be released,” he said.
He had called on worshippers to wear masks and perform ablution at their homes before coming to the mosques. “Remove prayer mats from mosques and ensure sanitisers are available,” he instructed mosque administrators.

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