Just one day before the start of the holy month of Ramzan, Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, has imposed a ban on Taraweeh congregations fearing a spike in coronavirus cases.
The development came days after the federal government had an agreement with Ulemas to conditionally open mosques for group prayers, Jummah and Taraweeh.
It was decided that religious leaders will implement all pre-established standard operating procedures (SOPs) including physical distancing, cleaning of the floor, no handshakes, and use of face masks in mosques. It was also decided that Taraweeh congregations will not be held on roads, footpaths, or anywhere other than the mosques.
However, Chief Minister Murad had a change of heart less than 24 hours before the first Taraweeh. In the late hours of Thursday, he released a video message asking people to offer Taraweeh at home as it was not an obligatory prayer.
“There will be Taraweeh congregations in mosques, but the public will not be allowed to attend,” Murad said, adding that a similar rule will apply on Jummah prayers.
CM Sindh said a curfew-like lockdown during the Jummah prayers (12 pm to 3 pm) will continue to keep the public from violating the orders.
A sudden spike in coronavirus cases has been observed in Sindh since it eased the lockdown restrictions, the chief minister said, adding that the government has to take this difficult decision to save human lives.