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Worship in mosques subject to SOPs, not banned: Sindh govt

SHC issues notice to Centre, OGRA over a plea seeking a reduction in CNG prices

​ Our Correspondent May 13, 2020
KARACHI: The home department submitted before the Sindh High Court on Tuesday that the provincial government had not restricted religious activities in mosques.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed was hearing a plea challenging the ban on religious activities and worship in mosques. The court sought the petitioner's response to the home department's reply.

The home department maintained that religious activities and worship were permitted subject to the 20 conditions defined by the federal government and the standard operating procedure (SOPs) that had been laid out.

The provincial government also presented before the court various fatwas by religious scholars regarding the limitation of religious activities during the coronavirus pandemic. Besides, the additional advocate-general stated that the notification issued by the Sindh government, restricting activities in mosques, had expired on April 5.

The court sought the petitioner's counter reply and adjourned the hearing till May 19.

The petitioner had maintained in the plea that restricting worshippers from offering prayers in mosques was a violation of shariah and constitutional laws. The police had baton-charged worshippers visiting mosques and booked them in cases under sections of the anti-terrorism act, the petitioner had stated.

CNG prices

The same bench issued notices to the federal government, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairperson, and other parties over a plea seeking a reduction in CNG prices.

The petitioner's counsel maintained that the prices of petroleum products and CNG have dropped significantly in the international market, but this did not reflect in Pakistan.

The petitioner prayed the court to direct the OGRA chairperson to consider reducing CNG prices, and the federal government to issue orders to decrease prices.

The court directed the federal government to inform the court of its stance on CNG prices. seeking replies from the Centre and OGRA chairperson by May 21.

Plea against dog culling

Separately, the bench issued notices to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), local government, district administration, and other authorities over a plea against the dog culling campaign.

The petitioner's counsel maintained that bodies of dogs are left to rot on roadsides after the dogs are shot or poisoned.

He contended that there are other ways to prevent stray dogs from breeding.

The petition moved the court to restrict the relevant authorities from killing dogs.

The bench issued notices to KMC, local government department, district administration, and other relevant authorities, seeking their replies over the plea.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2020.


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