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Mosques in Pakistan remain open during Ramadan for mass prayers amid COVID-19

Ramadan that begins this week is the holy month, in which Muslims visit mosques and fast all day; hold feasts after sundown with family and close ones.

Mosques in Pakistan have been made open on the occasion of Ramadan for mass prayers during COVID-19 lockdown. Last month, authorities across South Asian countries ordered local mosque administrators to limit Friday prayer congregations to just five people, as part of a broader ban on public gathering to curb the spread of Coronavirus. However, as Ramadan approached, a growing number of people across Pakistan refused to follow the restriction. More than 96% of Pakistans approximately 220 million inhabitants are Muslim, giving it the second-largest number of Muslims in the world after Indonesia.

There have been 10,513 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan and 224 deaths. Meanwhile, the majority of the Muslims in the world have decided that Ramadan prayers should be offered from home. Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday said, Ramadan is a month of worship and people want to go to mosques. Do we forcefully tell them to not go to mosques That could not happen in an independent society. Khan warned, If safety measures are not taken by the worshippers in mosques and there are reports of the spread of the virus, the decision can be reviewed without any delay. Then we would have no choice but to take action and close the mosques.

He said, ₹20 safety guidelines are to be followed while praying in a mosque. Under the guidelines, people above the age of 50, minors and those suffering from ?flu? will not be allowed to enter mosques. Ramadan traveeh prayers should not be conducted on roads, footpaths or anywhere else other than in mosques, and mosque floors will be washed with chlorine disinfectant. Prayer mats will also be disinfected with a chlorine mixture, and congregational rows will be formed with a six-foot distance between worshippers. However, people will be encouraged to offer traveeh prayers at home.

On Monday in Islamabad, the PM met the countrys leading Islamic clerics and scholars and asked them to ensure the implementation of the safety procedures during the communal prayers during Ramadan. After the meeting, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, said, Khan has asked the clerics to seek the blessings of Almighty Allah to accept repentance, forgive sins and help in the eradication of the deadliest coronavirus.

Also read: Coronavirus not so serious disease, stigma related to COVID-19 more dangerous: AIIMS Director

Mawlana Tahir Ashrafi, the chairman of the Pakistan Ulema (Islamic Scholars) Council, participated in the meeting with the prime minister. He strongly denied that the government’s decision was a result of the Islamists pressure. Ashrafi told The Media Line, After several days of meetings and consultations with the countrys leading health professional and Islamic scholars, the government has allowed the condition-based congressional prayers.

The mosques are our ideological centers and the Pakistan Ulema Council assures that mosques have taken more precautionary measures as compared to other public places. The Pakistan Ulema Council is fully cooperating with the government in implementing its guidelines. Ashrafi said. He appealed to the public to stay safe by following precautionary measures and limiting social contact. We have asked imams to strictly abide by official guidelines during the holy month, Ashrafi said.

Senior health professionals expressed deep concern over the government’s decision to allow communal prayer during Ramadan. Pakistans top Karachi-based health professionals wrote a joint letter to the federal government and leading religious scholars on Wednesday, asking them to review their decisions to permit mass prayer.

Imams will be unable to make people abide by the precautionary measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus, the medical professionals wrote. Dr Fartash Sarwar, an Islamabad-based leading health professional and analyst told The Media, Probably due to the strong pressure from the religious lobby, which seems to be in the driving seat rather than the concern for public safety, the government has permitted the congressional prayers.

?With the lack of random testing for the general population, one cannot be sure who is positive and who is negative [for COVID-19], he continued. In such circumstances, in a third world country like Pakistan, whose health system is as weak as its economy, the sane approach would be prevention, which is better than cure. If the virus is spread, will our health system be able to bear the brunt? The answer is an unequivocal no because our hospitals and our health system, in general, are grossly underfunded and lack the necessary human resources for such a calamity, he said.

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LGBT

LGBTQ+ community members share their stories, wave rainbow flags to mark ‘Pride month’

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Nation Next Newsroom | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Nagpur

Members of the LGBTQ+ community in Nagpur shared their stories and waved the rainbow flags to mark the end of Pride Month (June 1 – June 30) during an event held at VR Mall on June 30. The intention behind the event was to spread awareness about the issues pertaining to the community and bring the members under one roof.

To attract the attention of the people in the mall towards the importance of Pride Month, a group of youngsters performed during a flash mob. Thereafter, Anand Chandrani, Nikunj Joshi, Vidya Kamble, Mohini, Aditya and Myra Gupta from Sarathi Trust shared their stories and addressed problems faced by the community.

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Fashion

Actress Neha Sharma, models sashay down the ramp at ‘Blenders Pride Fashion Nights’ in Nagpur

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Amar Ashok Jajoo | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Nagpur

Actress Neha Sharma came calling to Nagpur on June 18 as she sashayed down the ramp for designer Nikita Mhaisalkar along with top models at the Blenders Pride Fashion Nights organized at Hotel Radisson Blu.

Above are some of the pictures from the event ↑

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Life & Style

Couples have a blast, win awards at ‘Hollywood Oscar Night’ in Nagpur

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Nation Next Newsroom | Photographer : Bhavesh Mahalle | Nagpur

Couples from a group/club called ‘The Core’ were spotted having a blast at a ‘Hollywood Oscar Night’ themed party recently organised at Chattarpur Farms in Nagpur. The party was hosted by Rupali and Dhiraj Agrawal with Priyanka and Ashwin Jain.

During the night, couples and individuals were given taglines and awards based on their respective personalities. The award categories were ‘Enthusiastic and dynamic couple,’ Modern Romeo and Juliet, etc. After the award ceremony couple danced and sung together to make the night memorable.

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