KARACHI - Sindh Minister for Information, Local Government, Housing &Town Planning, Religious Affairs, Forest and Wildlife Syed Nasir Hussain Shah has said that no official Iftar party will be held during Ramadan this year due to coronavirus outbreak.

The provincial information Minister said that politicians belonged to Pakistan People’s Party would also not arrange for any Iftar party during Ramdan this year. He said that the entire focus of the Sindh government during this Ramadan would be on protecting the lives of the people from the coronavirus pandemic.

Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has instructed that the politicians who used to give Iftar parties during Ramdan should spend the same money on purchasing ration and distribute it among the people who had been affected severely by the lockdown.

The provincial Information Minister said that after the directives of the Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had also confirmed that the no Iftar party would be held at official level this year during Ramdan. He said that all the ministers of the Sindh Government as well as the members of PPP in the provincial assembly would distribute rations to the people in their respective constituencies during Ramadan and would help the people affected by the lockdown.

Commenting on closure of Mosques and Traweeh during Ramadan, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that it was wrong to give the impression that if the Sindh Government talked of closing mosques, it meant that the coronavirus had been spreading from the mosques. He said that this was not the case at all, adding that, the government was requesting the Ulema to close the mosques and ask the people to offer prayers at home during this Ramdan as a precautionary measure.

The provincial Information Minister said that because medical experts believed that there was a high risk of spreading of coronavirus wherever there was a gathering, therefore, religous scholars were repeatedly being requested by the Sindh Government to take precautionary measures and ask the people to offer prayers at home. “We have the realization that it is very difficult for us create a consensus in this regard, especially when it is the month of Ramadan, but we still humbly request our respected clerics and religous scholars to follow the government’s health advisory and tell the people to offer prayers at home during this Ramadan,” he said. He hoped that just as the religious scholars had helped the Sindh government before Ramadan and told people to offer their prayers at home, including the Friday prayers, they would help us again during this holy month of Ramdan too.

Syed Nasir Hussain Shah clarified that the Sindh government had no differences with the federal government, and the Sindh government wanted to coordinate and cooperate with the federal government in the time of pandemic, but when federal ministers and federal spokespersons make statements against the Sindh Government only then they had to respond, but even then the spokespersons of the Sindh Government tried utmost not to create any controversy.

The provincial Information Minister said that the situation demanded and the need of the hour was that at a time when the country was facing a scourge like the coronavirus, they should work together as a nation and avoid making unnecessary statements against each other. He said that being the Prime Minister of the country Imran Khan was very respectable for us, but if he made any statement against the Sindh Government then they had to clarify their position. Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that it was being said that the doctors held a press conference in Sindh on the backing of the Sindh government. He said that, if this was true, then would anyone tell who was behind the press conference of doctors in Punjab? Was that too was done on the backing of Sindh government? he asked. The provincial Information Minister said that the real point was that as the people were praising the Sindh Chief Minister for taking the right steps at the right time to stop the spread of coronavirus and this was something which was untolerable for some federal representatives. “At least at this moment in time we should not engage ourselves in politics of blame game, rather we all should focus on saving people’s lives,” he said.

Referring to the issues of business community, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that a very detailed meeting had been held with the representatives of the traders, adding that, Standard Operating Procedures regarding their businesses were being finalized and a notification would be issued soon in this regard.

 

 The provincial Information Minister said that Sindh Government was well aware of the problems and difficulties of the people of the business community, but in difficult situations the government had to make extraordinary difficult decisions. He said that even in these difficult circumstances, the Sindh Government was giving as much relief as possible to the business community. Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the next 15 days were very important regarding the possible spread of coronavirus, adding that, all of us had to be extremely careful in these 15 days, otherwise the situation could get worse.

The provincial Information Minister said that the Sindh Government had not happily taken all drastic decisions in the last month or so, but the government had left with no other choice. He requested that the Sindh government should not be portrayed as a villain, but everyone including the federal government should help the Sindh Government in its efforts of preventing the spread of coronavirus in the province.

“This is is the time to put politics and differences in Quarantine and work together”, he added.