ISLAMABAD: Glaring violations of government-Ulema agreement were witnessed in majority of mosques across Punjab and in Federal Capital.
Pattan Development Organisation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in a press statement said, it conducted an observation, during the Friday prayers on 24th April, through 45 trained observers of the organisation.
The exercise was conducted in more than 120 mosques and Imambarghas of 17 cities and towns of Punjab. Moreover 10 worship places Islamabad were also observed, Pattan said.
The observation was conducted by using a standardised check list. The checklist included five main points which were part of the government-clergy 20 points agreement.
No carpets to be laid down in mosques.
Tarawih should not be conducted on roads, footpaths.
There should be a six-feet distance during congregational prayers.
People should not do ablution in mosques.
People must wear face masks when coming to mosques.
In this observation trial, each observer on average visited three mosques and noted his observations on the check-list and made pictures of violations.
In few places, some distance was maintained but in 81 percent mosques it was not six feet at all. The Friday prayers established massive violation of this very important mitigation measure.
Regarding face masks, a big majority (85 percent) of the people were found not wearing masks, only 15 percent were seen with masks.
Similarly, they found that in 72 percent mosques conduct of ablution inside mosque was found. According to their observation, in more than two-third of the observed mosques children were found alongside their elders in the mosques.
The observers reported that local administration and police warned khateebs and imams about the instructions but it appears that police did not bother to carry out the practice in remote areas and congested neighbourhoods.
They found the compliance level was better in bigger mosques than the smaller ones, perhaps due to fear of surveillance and reprimand.
Pattan Development Organization announced to observe the Taraveeh congregations as well, specially Taraveeh prayer on Friday, Sunday and then on alternate day until 4th May.
Stating purpose of observation Pattan said, it is two-fold – first to motivate clergy to enhance compliance of the agreement and, to improve enforcement. The exercise will continue until 4th may.
Based on this observation Pattan demanded the government and health authorities to disinfect mosques on daily basis. It is highly likely that virus is carried by worshippers to their homes and communities. Therefore, they must also be disinfected at the time of their departure from mosques.
It also suggested to train NGOs and community-based bodies and assign this task to them.
It urged the government to issue warning to those clerks who violated the agreement and those who didn’t comply must be tried under the law and such mosques should be sealed for the whole month because, such congregations are threat to the lives of many as virus spreads exponentially.
Pattan religious spirituality must not cause humanity any harm.