PM urges balance between risk to lives versus livelihoods

Premier Imran Khan satisfied with Ulema’s consensus on SOPs for mosque prayers during Ramazan


Rizwan Ghilzai April 20, 2020
Imran satisfied with Ulema’s consensus on SOPs for mosque prayers during Ramazan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that the government understood the problems facing the business community and stressed the need for maintaining a balance between containing the coronavirus pandemic and keeping the wheels of the economy running.

Chairing a meeting to review the current situation and prevention of coronavirus, Imran described social distancing as the most-effective strategy against coronavirus and expressed his satisfaction that an agreement had been reached with the Ulema for praying in mosques during these difficult times.

The prime minister, who earlier in the day held a meeting with a delegation of leading religious scholars via a video link, also called president Arif Alvi and discussed with him the coronavirus situation in the county, particularly the recently-agreed standard operating procedures (SOPs) with Ulema.

The meeting on virus situation was attended by federal ministers Hamad Azhar, Asad Omar, Khusro Bakhtiar and Fakhr Imam; assistant specials Dr Zafar Mirza, Firdous Ashiq Awana and Dr Moeed Yousuf; the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman and senior officers.

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During the meeting, Dr Mirza briefed the prime minister on the current status of coronavirus while Asad Omar briefed the participants on various suggestions to make the National Command and Operation Center’s efforts more effective in containing coronavirus.

The meeting was informed that at present more than 8,000 virus tests were being conducted in the country on a daily basis, while the target of conducting 20,000 tests daily would be achieved by the end of this month.

The meeting was also informed that special attention was being paid to enhance the capacity of hospitals to deal with the similar situation in the future. The NDMA chief said 480 hospitals had been given necessary equipment in the third batch, while the fourth batch would the equipment quantity.

Most effective strategy

Imran said that medical staff were “our frontline force in the fight against coronavirus and meeting their requirement is a top priority” of the government. He said the federal government fully understood the problems of the business community which should be resolved with the help of the provinces.

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“The most effective strategy against coronavirus is to ensure social distance,” the prime minister told the meeting. In this regard, he stressed the need for creating awareness among the masses about the importance of social distancing to ensure their cooperation.

The prime minister also referred to his meeting of the Ulema earlier in the day, saying that it was very satisfying that the SOPs regarding mosques and worship had been agreed with the consensus. The scholars have taken the responsibility for the implementation of these SOPs, he added.

In his meeting with Alvi at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, also joined by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt- Gen Faiz Hameed, Imran lauded the president’s efforts for evolving consensus among the Ulema regarding prayers and Taraweeh in mosques during the holy month of Ramazan.

Imran and Alvi exchanged views on domestic and international matters, particularly the ongoing situation arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The president appreciated the steps taken by the government to control the spread of Covid-19.

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The president asked the government to continue ensuring all possible measures to provide urgent relief to the masses, especially the downtrodden strata of the society, through Ehsaas Programme, Panahgahs, Langars, utility stores and other necessary measures during this crisis.

The meeting strongly condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by Indian forces across the Line of Control (LoC) and use of coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to trample human rights and further curbs on civil liberties in occupied Kashmir.

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