NCOC issues fresh guidelines for Eid ul Adha as COVID cases rise
- NCOC wants 2-3 prayers organised at one venue.
- Authority makes masks compulsory for prayers.
- Says slaughtering sites must be kept away from residential areas.
ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday issued fresh guidelines for Eid ul Adha, urging people to follow the issued SOPs as coronavirus cases climb across the country.
COVID cases witnessed a spike in the mid of June, with officials fearing that the infections would spread further due to shopping and the celebrations leading up to Eid ul Adha.
Eid ul Adha will be observed on July 10 and on this festival, animals are sacrificed, which increases human contact, thereby increasing the chance of the event being a super spreader.
In light of this, the NCOC has issued fresh guidelines for the public to follow.
Eid ul Adha prayers
- Eid UI Adha prayers should be organised in open spaces under stringent COVID protocols. In case of any compulsion to offer the prayers inside mosques, then all windows and doors should be kept open for ventilation to minimise the chances of disease spread.
- Preferably 2-3 Eid prayers should be organised at one single venue with staggered timings to allow maximum people to offer prayers with COVID-19 protocols.
- All ulemas leading Eid prayers should be sensitised to keep sermons and khutbaas short so that people remain present in the prayer venues for a brief duration.
- Efforts should be made to discourage sick, elderly and young children from attending Eid prayers.
- Under no circumstances should people be allowed to enter the prayer venue without a proper face mask.
- There should be multiple entry and exit points at the prayer venue to avoid jumbling up of individuals/prevent transmission of disease.
- Venue organisers should ensure the availability of a sufficient quantity of hand sanitisers at the entry points. It should be mandatory for all coming for prayers to use sanitisers before entering the venue.
- To ensure social distancing protocols, venue organisers to ensure prominent marking (6 feet apart) to allow sufficient space/distance between individuals.
- People should be encouraged to perform abulution at home before coming for the prayers and also bring their own prayer mats to the venue.
- Efforts should be made to sensitise people to refrain from embracing and handshaking after the prayer to avoid chances of disease transmission.
- There should not be any gathering at the prayer venue before the prayer and people should be asked to disperse immediately after the prayer.
Management of qurbani
- Efforts will be made to promote and encourage central/collective qurbani through various public, private and community organisations, while ensuring adherence to COVID-19 protocols of mask-wearing, social distancing and avoidance of crowd, etc.
- Continuous engagements will be ensured by provinces with ulemas for encouraging people for central/collective and online qurbani.
- Individual qurbani may be allowed, however collective qurbani will be preferred.
- Provinces to initiate awareness campaigns to educate the masses on the possible spread of COVID during meat distribution, therefore, care must be exercised in meat handling/distribution.
- The site of slaughtering should be away from residential areas and preferably in open/vast spaces.
- Crowding at slaughtering should be avoided and a minimum number of persons should be allowed to be present at the site.
- Any other measure as deemed appropriate to contain disease spread.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) data from today morning showed that the COVID-19 positive ratio in the country had declined to 3.45%.
A day earlier, a 4.61% COVID-19 positive ratio was recorded in the country with 675 cases.
In the last 24 hours, a total of 18,950 diagnostic tests were conducted, out of which 653 samples came back positive, the data showed.
On a positive note, the country reported no deaths in the last 24 hours from COVID-19.
Sham Idrees announces break in his marriage with Froggy
YouTube’s famous couple Sham Idrees and Froggy aka Sehar are taking sometime away from each other in their relationship.
Sham, taking it to his Instagram, left his fans in a shock after announcing his separation with Froggy. He wrote: “I would like to announce that me and froggy are taking sometime away from each other in our relationship. Please don’t involve me in issues concerning froggy, rabil or any of the other family members. I appreciate some privacy during this difficult time.”
Sham is a Canadian based YouTuber, who has a following of 1.4 million people on Instagram, is widely-known for his entertaining content. His videos often feature his wife Sehar along with him.
The couple tied the knot a few years ago and is parents to baby Sierra who is two-years old. The duo welcomed another daughter on September 28, 2022. They named her Shanaya Idrees.
After the birth of his first daughter, Sham Idrees also introduced his fans to his daughter Dua from his previous marriage.
Massive power breakdown hits Pakistan
- Minister says power generation units are temporarily shut in winter at night.
- Says frequency variation in national grid triggered outage.
- Says ministry trying to restore power in next 12 hours.
LAHORE/KARACHI/QUETTA/ISLAMABAD: A countrywide power breakdown, triggered by a “frequency variation” in the national grid early Monday morning, has left large parts of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta without electricity.
Power Minister Khurrum Dastagir, while talking to Geo News, said that the power generation units are temporarily shut down in winter at night as an economic measure to save fuel costs.
“When the systems were turned on at 7:30am this morning one by one, frequency variation was reported in the southern part of the country between Jamshoro and Dadu. There was a fluctuation in voltage and power generating units were shut down one by one due to cascading impact. This is not a major crisis,” said the federal minister as the country plunged into darkness for the second time in four months.
The minister said that his ministry has started restoring some grid stations in Tarbela and Warsak.
“Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) and some grids of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) have already been restored,” claimed the minister.
Talking about the breakdown in Karachi, the minister said that the matter in the port city is complicated as it has a complete electric supply system.
“We provide K-Electric about 1,000-1,100 megawatts routinely, however, it will be restored within a few hours. It is not certain how long will it take to sort this issue. However, my target is to restore electricity in the country in the next 12 hours,” said the minister.
Before the energy ministry’s announcement, different power distribution companies had confirmed the breakdown.
According to Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO), the two transmission lines have tripped leaving 22 districts of Balochistan, including Quetta without power.
Karachi power update
Meanwhile, K-Electric spokesperson Imran Rana said that at approximately 7:34am today, the national grid experienced a loss of frequency, affecting the power supply to multiple cities across Pakistan
“This has also cascaded to KE’s network affecting power supply to Karachi,” Rana said, adding the KE’s network is safe and protected.
“Our teams are actively monitoring the situation and enabling restoration efforts.”
An IESCO spokesperson said that its 117 grid stations were without electricity.
Meanwhile, PESCO also confirmed the outage in areas where it supplies electricity.
This is the second time within four months that a country was hit by a major power breakdown.
NEPRA takes notice
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), in a statement, said that it has taken “serious notice” of the power outage and directed the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) to submit a “detailed report”.
The statement also said that the regulator has previously imposed fines on similar outages in the 2021 and 2022. It also shared that NEPRA has consistently issued directives and recommendations on tackling such events in future.
In October of last year, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Multan, and Faisalabad were hit by a power outage.
At that time, the power minister said that nearly 8,000 megawatts of power went offline.
Back then, Dastagir had said that the simultaneous faults in two power lines, which had triggered the breakdown, at the same time was concerning for the government. He had also announced that an in-depth inquiry was ordered and promised action.
A timeline of power breakdowns in Pakistan
The country’s generation and distribution network has suffered eight major power breakdowns during the last nine years.
In 2014 and 2017, nationwide blackouts were caused by a fault in Tarbela Power Station while fog, frequency variation and the Guddu Power Plant fault were blamed for breakdowns in 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Every time the party in power announced to conduct a comprehensive probe and vowed to rectify the issues but nothing has happened despite multiple inquiries.
Punjab ordered to issue divorce certificates to non-Muslims
- Lahore High Court directs provincial authority to frame rules within 90 days.
- Petitioner says issue is faced by many members of Christian community.
- NADRA’s Registration Policy allows change of marital status on basis of affidavit.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) Wednesday directed the Punjab government to frame, within 90 days, rules under which union councils would issue divorce certificates to members of Christian and other non-Muslim communities in Pakistan.
In many parts of the country, the divorce certificates are not issued to non-Muslims by union councils that instead claimed such certificates were “not issued to the Christian community.” This is an issue for members of the said community because, without a divorce certificate, they cannot request the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to update their marital status while applying for the renewal of their identity cards.
The matter was brought to the attention of the LHC during the case Shumaila Sharif vs the secretary union council etc.
The petitioner in her appeal requested that the court is a writ of Mandamus — an order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly — against the relevant union council and direct it to issue her the divorce certificate.
The case proceedings
The petition was heard on December 16 last year and the presiding judge was Judge Tariq Saleem Sheikh.
During the proceedings, the counsel of the petitioner, Advocate Umar Saeed, said that the issue was faced by several people in the Christian community and was not a one-off incident.
Citing Section 33 (1)(j) of the Punjab Local Government Act 2022 (PLGA 2022) — which mandates that union councils ensure registration of births, deaths, marriages and divorces for all the communities without discrimination — and Article 36 of the Constitution, which expressly requires the state to protect the minorities’ legitimate rights and interests, the counsel argued that by refusing to issue the requisite certificate, the council was failing to fulfil its legal duty.
Additionally, Advocate Kashif Alexander, the court’s amicus curiae on the matter, contended that obtaining a divorce certificate is a legal right that cannot be denied.
Together the two emphasise that while the Constitution of Pakistan (1973) does not explicitly guarantee the right to identity, Article 9 (right to life) and Article 14 (dignity of man) safeguard that right. Therefore, any citizen whose marital status changes due to the dissolution of marriage by divorce has a fundamental right to obtain a divorce certificate from the competent authority and then have their CNIC updated/revised.
The Additional Advocate General has little to defend the respondents and said that the provincial government was taking steps to address the complaints of the Christian community regarding the non-issuance of divorce certificates.
During the proceedings, it was brought to the court’s attention that NADRA’s Registration Policy dated 06.04.2021 (Version 5.0.2) allowed a change of marital status of a divorcee on the basis of an affidavit in the prescribed form.
In light of this, the court directed that until the provincial government framed the requisite rules needed for the issuance of the divorce certificate by the union council, NADRA shall accommodate the Christian community in accordance with the Registration Policy 19.
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