The Tablighi Jamaat has barred its members from going door-to-door and gathering people after talks with the Punjab government officials in Raiwind, SAMAA TV has learnt.
According to sources in the Punjab government, the Jamaat has issued instructions to its members to stay where they are and barred them from delivering sermons across the country.
The decision comes a few days after several members of the Tablighi Jamaat tested positive for the coronavirus.
In Islamabad alone, 13 members of the Jamaat, including a Kyrgyzstan national, were diagnosed with the virus, an official of the Islamabad administration told SAMAA Digital.
The city administration had to lockdown several areas, including Shehzad Town, Rimsha Colony and Bhara Kahu, after some of the members of Tablighi Jamaat were diagnosed with the virus.
On Wednesday, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat had confirmed to SAMAA Digital that at least 16 cases were reported in the area around the mosques where the members of Tablighi Jamaat were staying.
In Shehzad Town, a man, who had attended Tablighi Jamaat’s Ijtema in Raiwind earlier this month, was diagnosed with the virus. A few days ago a large number of people had attended the funeral prayers of this man’s mother-in-law. The city administration has sealed the area and instructed those who attended the funeral prayers to go into isolation.
An official of the Islamabad police, requesting anonymity told SAMAA Digital that most of the members of Tablighi Jamaat who had been diagnosed with the virus, had attended the Tablighi Ijtemi in Raiwind.
The Tablighi Ijtema had started in Raiwind on March 11 but was suspended on March 12 due to the rainy weather. According to reports, around 250,000 people had gathered near Lahore to attend the Ijtema.
Islamabad is not the only city where the officials are blaming members of Tablighi Jamaat for spreading the virus. Two people, who had come from Palestine to Lahore to attend Tablighi Ijtema, were also diagnosed with coronavirus in Gaza, the authorities in Gaza had confirmed a few days ago.
In Pakistan, the virus has killed eight people and infected more than a 1,000 people across the country.
Many countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have already suspended mass prayers. In Pakistan, many prominent personalities, including President Arif Alvi, had urged the clerics to suspend them too.
A meeting of prominent religious clerics from all school of thoughts was held in Karachi on Wednesday, where they discussed various issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, the chairman of Ruet-i-Hilal Committee, had announced after the meeting that all the mosques in Pakistan will remain opened and the mandatory five-time and Friday prayers will be offered there.
“All the people [should] perform ablution at home,” he said. “The sunnahs before and after [the Farz prayers] should be offered at home.”
Mufti Muneeb, however, urged prayer leaders to stop making Urdu speeches on Fridays and keep their sermons short.
According to latest reports, President Alvi is speaking to religious clerics and provincial authorities in the president house to convince them to suspend mass prayers. Some of the clerics have assured him that they won’t oppose the government’s decision to suspend Friday’s mass prayers if one is taken.
Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, however, said that clerics and the government have not reached any agreement. “The religious traditions can’t be suspended,” he told SAMAA TV. He added that the mass prayers will continue in the country.