Amid the rising cases of the coronavirus COVD-19 worldwide, the Pakistani Army is unwilling to close the mosques across the country fearing backlash from the fundamentalist clerics. The fact remains that the fundamentalist clerics are crucial for Pakistan’s proxy wars in Afghanistan and India, especially Jammu and Kashmir
The Imran Khan-led government is unable to take any step as fundamentalist clerics have the support of the Pakistan Army. The current scenario gives rise to a major concern as the mosques nationwide remain open for Friday Namaz as well as daily prayers. Pakistan has already crossed 1,200 confirmed cases including 10 deaths due to COVID-19.
Senior Journalist Nasim Jehra tweeted, “There is NO NO NO reason why Pakistan government should not suspend congregational prayers in Pakistan given that Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, UAE, Jordan etc. have already stopped congregational prayers.”
The Pakistani Army which is actually controlling the government is trying to put the blame on Imran Khan for the coronavirus crisis. The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has raised concern for the South Asian countries.
Last week, Gaza reported two confirmed cases of coronavirus. When Palestinian authorities investigated the matter, it was found that both men had recently returned from Pakistan where they attended a mass religious gathering that ended on March 12. They were among the 250,000 people that gathered in the outskirts of Lahore to participate in the ‘Tableeghi Ijtema’ an Islamic event organized by the Tablighi Jamaat.
Many people who have been found to be coronavirus positive had attended the Tablighi Jamaat programme in Lahore. Four people living in Sindh have been admitted to a hospital in Pakistan, who attended the programme. Similarly, five Maulana of Kyrgyzstan country has also been found to be coronavirus positive who had participated in the programme and have been admitted to a hospital in Islamabad.
“I think everyone who attended the Lahore Ijtima must stay in isolation and get himself tested as soon as possible,” tweeted Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad Muhammad Hamza Shafaqat. President Arif Alvi has already discussed the possibility of isolation but the situation on the ground is just the opposite.
The Turkish media is also very critical of the Pakistan government for not ordering an effective ban on mosques. “Pakistan has crossed 1,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the actual infected is likely significantly higher. Yet, unlike other countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, Pakistan has not banned congregational prayers that pose a clear threat to public health,” said TRT World.
According to experts, in the first phase, where the risk of coronavirus spread from mainly China and Iran, the threat of the second stage is from Tablighi Jamaat congregation to the world.