Islamabad, Amid surging coronavirus cases in Pakistan, the federal government on Saturday imposed a ban on Youm-e-Ali processions, while majalis will be permitted under strict SOPs which are already in place for Ramadan.
An important session on the conduct of Youm-e-Ali was held at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar. Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed, Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan were also present, Geo TV reported.
The provincial secretaries and representatives of law enforcement agencies attended the session through video link.
“Keeping in view the risk factor due to the ongoing surge in Covid spread across the country and particularly in major urban centres, it was decided to ban all sort of processions while holding of Majalis has been permitted under strict Covid SOPs which are already in place for Ramazan ul Mubarik,” read an NCOC statement.
The forum emphasised the need to engage religious scholars and community leaders at provincial and district levels for the implementation of these decisions.
Pakistan has seen record deaths in recent days from the coronavirus, and stricter restrictions on movement and gathering in public are planned for the upcoming Eid holiday.
Officials are worried the country’s health care system, already under strain, could reach breaking point if more contagious variants of the virus begin to spread, as has happened in neighbouring India.
On Saturday, authorities reported 4,696 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 146 deaths from the disease.