ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr. Noor-ul-Haq Qadri has said that mosques in the country would not be closed.
However, he said, the worshippers would have to keep their numbers at minimum level in congregation prayers as a precautionary measure against Coronavirus.
Briefing the media after a video conference of Ulema chaired by President Dr. Arif Alvi at Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad on Thursday, he said it was agreed in the meeting that children and faithful of over 50 years age, besides the sick ones, should be barred from offering daily and Friday prayers in the mosques.
He said various religious decrees had already been issued for halting large gatherings in the mosques as Islam stressed on protecting the lives of the worshippers.
The minister said the Ulema authorized President Dr Arif Alvi to take precautionary measures and necessary decisions to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The meeting urged the Ulema to inform people about the negative impacts of the spread of coronavirus.
Regarding the Hajj arrangements this year, the minister said the Saudi Arabian government had asked Pakistan not to ink final agreements regarding transport, catering with the concerned companies till the situation regarding coronavirus was cleared.
Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said Ulema had assured their cooperation to government in its efforts to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
On Mar 26, the Sindh government announced to limit Friday congregation to six people, in contrast with the decision taken by a joint meeting of ulema in Karachi a day earlier. Ulema had permitted congregational prayers with some conditions.
Qadri brushes aside halting hajj operation rumours
ON Mar 24, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri had strongly denied the rumours of halting hajj operations this year.
He had said there is no truth in rumours viral on social media about hajj operation. Saudi government had not yet issued any orders of halting hajj operations, he had said.
He had said Hajj arrangements were continuing as per routine and the Ministry was in constant contact with Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Qadri had said Saudi government has only advised for not inking final agreements with transport, hotel hiring for hajj days.