Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Thursday clarified that the government did not impose any ban on observing Aitekaf at the country-wide Mosques, rather issuing anti-coronavirus SOPs (standard operating procedures) to contain the spread of coronavirus among Moatakif (Aetikaf observers). Addressing a news conference here, he categorically rejected the rumors circulating on social media networking sites about a ban on AItekaf (a ten-day communion with the Creator in isolation to seek His blessing and forgiveness for their sins observed in the last 10 days of Ramazan). Ashrafi, who is also the Chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council, said the forthcoming Friday would be observed as Youm-e-Dua (Prayers Day) to seek the Almighty’s repentance and forgiveness against the coronavirus outbreak. On the occasion, a pledge would also be made with the Almighty that the nation would spend their future lives in accordance with Quran and Sunnah. He urged the religious scholars and prayer leaders to instruct the faithful to strictly follow the anti-COVID SOPs while offering prayers at the mosques. Ashrafi, also a member of Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), said the council in the last day’s meeting had instructed the Ulema to follow the anti coronavirus SOPs to save themselves from the deadly virus. The decree for maintaining physical distance at the Mosques should be given due weight-age as it was issued by leading religious scholars after due diligence, he noted. He observed that the relations with the Arab countries had seen marked improvement in the last six months. SRPM said OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference) had recently adopted a resolution against Islamophobia owing to the efforts of Pakistan. Spade work was underway on presenting another such resolution in the United Nations, he added. Highlighting efforts of the present government for curbing Islamophobia, he said National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had written letter to over 100 Muslim parliamentarians across the world, seeking an end to a surge in IslamIslamophobia experience by the West. The positive effects of the Prime Minister’s efforts against blasphemy, islamophobia had started pouring in as most of the Muslim countries started favouring Pakistan’s stance on both the issues. Allama Tahir Ashrafi said the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Turkey were ready to play their due role in curbing Islamophobia and blasphemy around the globe. Pakistan endorsed the decision of Sheikh-ul-Azhar of Egypt to move the International Court of Justice against the blasphemy in France, he added. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan would undertake a visit to Saudi Arabia before the end of the holy month of Ramazan. A meeting of Pak Arab Forum would be convened after Eid-ul-Fitr, he added.