KARACHI                -               Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed police to withdraw all the FIRs registered against the imams of mosques and others for violating the code of conduct devised for the Friday prayers.

“We, after consultations with leading doctors and ulemas of different schools of thought, had decided that due to the threat of coronavirus, only the prayer leader, the moazen, Khadim and two others would offer the Friday prayer. But unfortunately, some people violated this code of con­duct; as a result, the law took its course.” Murad said that since the ulemas had raised the issue of registration of cases against them, therefore right now, “I am directing the inspector general of police (IGP) to withdraw the FIRs registered against imams and other people all over Sindh with the request [to ulemas] to keep their Friday congregation limited to five people as had been agreed earlier.”

This he said while presiding over a meeting of religious schol­ars of different schools of thought here at the CM House on Monday.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Sind IGP Mushtaq Maher, ACS Home Usman Chachar, Profes­sor Dr Abdul Bari and religious scholars, including Mufti Taqi Us­mani, Mufti Imran Usmani, Mufti Zubair Usmani, Dr Adil, Maulana Imdadullah, Dr Saeed Sikan­dar, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Mufti Rehman Amjad, Mufti Abid Mubarak, Mufti Rafi-ur-Rehman, Allama Shahensha Hussain Rizvi, Mufti Yousuf Kashmiri, Maulana Abdul Waheed and Mufti Abdur Rehman.

At the outset of the meeting, the chief minister said that the first case of Covid-19 was detected in Sindh on February 26, and on the same day he held an emergency meeting and decided to order clo­sure of the schools. “The situation kept aggravating, and we kept an eye on it as was later reflected in our decisions,” he said, and added that he had sent government ser­vants on a 15-day leave, ordered the closure of restaurants, then shopping centers and finally de­cided to declare complete lock­down because the number of coronavirus cases were increas­ing. “Today, we have 508 cases in the province, including 171 cases of local transmission. This is why I am requesting each and every one to maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings and congre­gations,” he appealed.

The chief minister said that the decision to limit the number of people offering prayers together was taken after thorough debate and discussions with all the stake­holders. “The objective is to save our people from this disease and with the cooperation and support of religious scholars, this has be­come possible,” the CM said.

“Alhamdulillah, our mosques are open, azan is given there five times a day and a limited number of people also offer prayers to­gether– this is what is required,” Murad said, and assured, “Let the threat is over, everything would become normal.”

The chief minister once again appealed to the religious scholars to keep urging the faithful to pre­fer offering prayers at home.