Coronavirus Outbreak: Pakistan to have Uniform Policy Nationwide for The Holy Month of Ramadhan, Minister of Religious Affairs
Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri on Monday said the entire country will have a uniform policy regarding the holy month of Ramzan this year, as the government takes measures to stem the spread of novel coronavirus.
“National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser will approach all the religious parties on the matter of having a uniform policy for Ramzan this year,” he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad. The religious affairs minister was accompanied by the NA speaker and SAFRON Minister Shehryar Afridi.
Minister Qadri said that the parties concerned will lay out a comprehensive strategy for the holy month in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely impacted daily life and businesses. The minister said: “The government will approach JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, JI chief Sirajul Haq, Sajid Mir, Sajid Naqvi and other religious leaders for policy-making consultations.”
On the occasion, he also expressed his displeasure over the untoward incidents related to congregational prayers resulting in sheer violation of the lockdown rules. High number of cases led to an unnecessary debate on whether the Iran pilgrims or Tablighi’s were behind the spread of the coronavirus, he said, adding: “The debate subsided because of the efforts of the NA speaker.”
Meanwhile, the religious minister met Interior Minister Brig (Retd) Ijaz Ahmad Shah in the federal capital. The meeting focused on the formulation of a strategy that will ensure that the spirit of the holy month is kept alive and preventive measures amid pandemic are also fully exercised, said a press release.
“The Holy month of Ramazan holds great significance for every Muslim in the world. This year we are facing a global challenge of fighting novel COVID 19, considering this hindrance, the Interior Minister and the Minister for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony met to devise a practical strategy,” it reads.
The possible options were brought under discussion and the two collectively decided that country’s all religious representatives from different segments should be taken onboard and a uniform set of guidelines from the Centre should be issued for all provinces and the ICT to follow.
“Uniform set of guidelines are key to the strategy to avoid any conflict,” said Shah, adding that the national emergency to control coronavirus spread is likely to impact Ramadan’s routine practices.
Understanding the significance of Ramazan, the two ministers mutually agreed on taking all necessary stakeholders onboard to come up with the best possible solution in this time of crisis.
“Primary objective is to come up with a unanimous decision that will let people observe their religious duties and also ensure health and safety of the masses,” it reads.
The federal ministers decided upon taking senior religious scholars and representatives on board to decide the final strategy. The finalized policy is to be uniform for the entire country, the two agreed.
Earlier this week, Minister for Religious Affairs also said that decision on Hajj 2020 will be made by mid of Ramazan.
According to the details, the minister said that government of Pakistan is constantly in a touch with the Saudi Hajj ministry officials on this matter and currently the Kingdom authorities had barred them from signing Hajj arrangements deals. Noor-ul-Haq Qadri further said that the Kingdom is analyzing the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Saudi authorities have different options for allowing the pilgrims 2020 Hajj proceedings.
Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said that in the entire Islamic history the proceedings of Hajj remained suspended wholly or partially for 40 times.
As of Tuesday morning, Pakistan has recorded more than 5,600 cases and 95 deaths due to the pandemic. So far 1,378 patients have been recovered across country.
Punjab Province with its biggest hit has 2800 cases, Sindh have 1450 cases, KPK have 800 cases, Gilgit-Baltistan and Baluchistan have 230 cases each, Capital Territory Islamabad have 130 cases and 40 cases have been recorded in AJK so far.