ISLAMABAD: Religious scholars assured that they would “comply with the instructions” issued by the government in order to curb the coronavirus pandemic during a meeting with President Arif Alvi on Thursday.

According to a statement released by the President’s office after the meeting, the Ulema also promised to extend their “complete support” to the government in its efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

President Alvi had held a meeting with the scholars today to discuss if religious congregations, including Friday prayers, should be suspended during the coronavirus outbreak. The statement, however, made no mention of the matter.

President Alvi chaired the meeting at President House, and scholars from all four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) attended the meeting through video link from governor houses across the country. Those from Islamabad and Rawalpindi were physically present.

The president was supposed to appraise the scholars about the fatwa issued by Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, permitting suspension of Friday prayers to control the spread of the novel coronavirus across Pakistan.

He was expected to announce important decisions regarding these matters. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri and Chairman of The Council of Islamic Ideology Dr Qibla Ayaz were advising the president on the matter.

Authorities have held multiple consultations with scholars over whether prayer congregations should continue, as social distancing is vital to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has already infected more than 1,000 people in the country. A large number of people are expected to gather in mosques tomorrow to attend Friday’s congregational prayers.

Originally Posted on Abbtak TV

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