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Imran Khan worried about COVID-19, yet people can gather in mosques for Ramzan

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–Prime minister says people must follow SOPs, or else…!

NP newsroom

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that action will be taken (against members of the public) if the 20-point agreement regarding safety precautions and mosques’ SOPs between the government and Islamic clerics are not implemented in the Islamic fasting month of Ramzan, beginning from the 25th of April.

Imran Khan was on national television ‑‑ once again – explaining to his people the latest situation regarding the coronavirus, alongside his ministers and advisors. He “explained” that Pakistan was a free country, hence it could not force worshippers to “not pray in mosques”.

Ironically, he also said, “The war against the coronavirus is being fought by the entire country. It [COVID-19] will not differentiate between the rich and the poor. It can afflict anyone,” he explained. “Deploying police outside mosques and throwing worshippers in prison is not a choice, independent nations do not behave like this,” he emphasized.

Imran Khan said Pakistani Islamic clerics had signed a 20-point agreement with President Alvi that contained SOPs and conditions based on which mosques will be allowed to remain open in Ramzan. Yet, however, he urged people to pray at home.

“I would urge my Pakistanis to stay at home and pray,” he said. He admitted “Other Muslim countries have urged their citizens to do the same. But if you have to go to mosques, keep this in mind. You will have to obey these conditions,” he added.

The prime minister said that if people did not follow the safety precautions and coronavirus cases surged among people who pray in mosques during Ramzan, the government would have no choice but to retract its decision.

Imran said that the government will close mosques if the SOPs are not implemented in letter and spirit, adding that the same was mentioned in the agreement. “No one wants to see mosques empty,” he said.

Governments easing lockdown, says Imran

The prime minister said several countries were thinking about easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions as governments wanted to strike a balance between protecting people and ensuring economic activity was regulated.

“A debate has started in countries whether to ease or lift the lockdown and at the same time, save people from the coronavirus,” he said, seemingly unaware that they were doing so in countries where the affliction had plateaued. “Countries, where 500-600 people have died so far, are opening shops and easing the lockdown.”

He said that an “indefinite lockdown” was not possible in any society. The PM explained that no one knew when the coronavirus will end. “Governments don’t even know if coronavirus cases will resurface once after they have been controlled or not,” he said. 

The prime minister said that his government had started the revival of economic activities by opening the construction sector. “Other countries are trying to figure out how to recover from the economic setback [of the coronavirus]. Keeping in mind Pakistan’s dismal economic conditions, our priority is to bring our people out of poverty,” he said.

Speaking about the Coronavirus Relief Tiger Force that flaunts the prime minister’s political party PTI’s colours, PM Imran said that it was disappointing how the volunteer force was being politicised. “At times, I am shocked at the opposition,” he said, adding that the tiger force will not receive any funds as it was comprised of volunteers.

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