Reading Now: 80% Mosques In Punjab Violate The Ulema-Govt. Agreement On Precautions For Taraweeh
Increase in the flux of patients affected by the Coronavirus pandemic has had led the government to take a lot of decisions regarding the minimization of social interaction throughout the country. Those decisions included the complete closure of mosques and a complete halt on congregational prayers. But with the advent of the Islamic month of Ramadan, Pakistan Ulema Council refused to follow the strict lock-down and demanded for an intermediate approach towards the performance of all religious activities, while observing the necessary precautionary measurements.
The Ulema-Government Agreement
The government and PUC finally agreed on a pact which defined very specific ways for the performance of religious proceedings including prayers and taraweeh for the month of Ramadan. The agreement was based on 20 essential precautions given by the government which were necessary to be taken by mosques’ managements and their clerics.
But recently, an NGO called Pattan Development Organization has conducted a survey which reveals that 80% mosques in Punjab violate the Ulema-Govt. agreement on precautions for taraweeh.
Data collected by an NGO shows that 80% of the mosques are not subscribing to agreed safety measures.
It's a privilege that has been granted, which should be revoked on non-compliance.
Or even a better way would be to re-think this decision altogether.https://t.co/QljY6seZYe
— Hasaan Khawar (@hasaankhawar) April 26, 2020
Precautions Defined By The Government For Mosques
Government demanded assurance for the practice of necessary protective measures – which were a total of about 20 points. Government officials also warned the religious clerics that if the advised directives were not followed by mosques’ managements, the law enforcement institutions will be bound to take necessary action against them.
Those 20 precautions included that the prayers would not be performed outside of the mosque in streets, roads or pavements. Also, every worshiper must be at a distance of about 6 feet from his fellow worshiper during saff-formation. Services for ablution must be revoked by the management inside the mosque and people must be encouraged to perform ablution from homes. Most importantly, every person would be obligated to wear a mask.
Management would be bound to disinfect the entire premises before and after every gathering for a prayer. PUC agreed on all these terms and the mosques were re-opened with immediate effect. But sadly, implementation of these guidelines are not satisfactory according to the report.
Violation Of The Agreement
About 40 surveyors from Pattan Development Organization were deployed to gather the data regarding the practice of precautionary measurements. To everyone’s surprise, the results were quite disturbing and heart-breaking.
A whopping 96% of mosques in Punjab had people praying outside in the streets, roads and gren-belts. The NGO report says that about 89% of worshipers did not bother to wear any kind of face mask. In addition 72% mosques were not practicing the guideline of maintaining social distance of 6 feet, as defined by the government.
The following observations were taken from the Federal Capital Islamabad and cities of Lahore, Kamalia, Faisalabad, Layyah, Multan, Jhang, Muzaffargarh, Taunsa, Shorkot, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Alipur from Punjab.
It has been reported that the local government warned all khateebs and clerics of the respective communities of potential hazards attached to the violation of agreed guidelines. But all efforts have been in vain, so far.
Anger in Public
With a reckless part of society daringly attending the prayers in mosques without precaution, there is another part of the same society, being extremely furious on the carefree and absurd attitude of these people and the religious clerics who guide them.
Not at all surprised. Cases have shot up in the last 24 hours in Punjab. I am more angry than afraid, angry that these men have the audacity to toy with our lives and the govt is enabling this madness. #CoronaVirusPakistan https://t.co/Z3esPMg9kN
— Fiza Waheed (@FizaW) April 26, 2020
A person on Twitter criticized the poor monitoring and implementation by the Federal government, which seems to have dusted off its shoulders the responsibility of making sure that SOPs are indeed being followed.
https://t.co/749A6PjJO1 only govt is fool enough to think , once ppl are gathered in #mosques, they would stick to rules ( rather yielded by govt). The only outcome in foreseeable future, religious groups would lose respect among civilians owing to their unwise stubbornness
— Bushra (@divergence881) April 26, 2020
The total number of cases in Punjab have accelerated by a mind-boggling 1000% in the last two days. And amid this crisis, if the government does not take adequate actions and deal with the violators with a stern hand, we should not hope for the pandemic to be over anytime soon.
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