NA seeks ulema aid to counter pandemic

By Staff Reporter
Thursday – April 9, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The national assembly (NA) speaker Asad Qaiser, Wednesday, in a tele-video meeting with Shia ulema and scholars stressed upon them to play their role in creating harmony and awareness, among their followers, for countering the challenges posed by the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and discussed the repatriation of zayreen (pilgrims).

According to an official statement, NA speaker Qaiser held that unity amongst all the religious sects was imperative in the current situation. He reiterated his stance that the spread of coronavirus pandemic should not be attributed to particular religious sect or group of people.

He said that the world was facing immense challenges due to spread of coronavirus and Pakistan was not an exception.

NA speaker Qaiser said that the virus had badly affected the health and livelihoods of the people of Pakistan, besides inflicting losses to the economy.

He said that we, collectively, have to face the challenge courageously and the support of ulema and religious scholars was imperative.

NA speaker Qaiser said that ulema and scholars should advise the masses to adopt precautionary measures so that, the masses, remain safe from the deadly coronavirus.

He advised to maintain the social distancing, staying at home, avoiding public gatherings and adopting of other measures as advised by the ministry of health (MoH) for safety reasons.

NA speaker Qaiser held that Shaban 15 has religious significance for all, but due to the present threat, people should stay at home, pray to Allah for the well being of humanity, and their fellow citizens, for progress, prosperity of the country.

He added that the government was cognisant of the problems being faced by the zayreen stranded in Iran, Iraq and Syria and held that measures were being adopted to bring them back home safely.

NA speaker Qaiser assured that the parliament was alive and mindful of its responsibilities towards people, therefore, a committee had been constituted under minister of state (MoS) for states and frontier regions (SAFRON) Shehryar Khan Afridi to get in touch with representatives of tablighi jamaat (Islamic missionary movement) and Ahle Tashi (Shia) to listen to their issues, access the number of stranded people in different countries and make arrangements to bring them back home safely.

He asked the Ahle Tashi ulema to give details of zayreen stranded abroad to the committee for making appropriate arrangement for bringing them back, to avoid subsequent health related issues.

NA speaker Qaiser asked them to apprise the committee about issues regarding zayreen who had been quarantined within the country.

A research scholar Allama Shahenshah Naqvi, thanked NA speaker for his initiative and informed that government functionaries had been very cooperative during the coronavirus problem.

He said that arrangements had been made for zayreen arriving through Taftan border. Allama Naqvi suggested that arrangements may be made to transport zayreen tested negative to their native towns.

He agreed that the decision of the government to adopt precautionary measures and social distancing was in the best interest of the people. Allama Naqvi said that Shia scholars had unanimously decided and advised their followers to offer prayers at home instead of mosques, avoid religious congregations till the prevalence of coronavirus pandemic.

He said that unity at this juncture was necessary to flight the pandemic.

A research scholar Khanum Tayyaba Bukhari, agreed with Allama Naqvi adding that unity amongst all religious sects was the need of the hour. She said that ulema should advise their followers through media to avoid social gatherings and stay at home as Quranic scriptures and Hadiths had relaxed religious congregations in pandemics and catastrophes.

The religious affairs (RA) minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri appreciated the initiative of NA speaker Qaiser and held that creating harmony amongst all religious sects was essential to combat the pandemic.

He suggested that offices of provincial speakers may be mobilised to gather support of religious scholars to tackle the challenge.

RA minister Qadri thanked the scholars for their earlier support regarding fatwa (a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognised authority) on offering prayers at home instead of mosques during the current crisis.

MoS SAFRON Afridi assured that the government of Pakistan (GoP) will make all necessary arrangements for safe transportation of all stranded Pakistanis back to Pakistan once the relevant data was made available.

He suggested that the ministry of foreign affairs (FA) should work out details of jailed Pakistanis through its missions abroad and make arrangements for their repatriation.

MoS SAFRON Afridi assured the NA speaker that his committee was working hard with a solution oriented approach and will present its recommendation on tasks assigned.

RA minister Qadri, MoS SAFRON Afridi and religious scholar Bukhari attended the meeting, while religious scholar Allama Naqvi joined the meeting through a tele-video link.

The representatives of ministries of health, interior, FA and aviation division were present during the meeting.