File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan | Facebook | Imran Khan
File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan | Facebook | Imran Khan
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Here’s an anecdote that will explain to the world how Pakistanis are fighting the coronavirus pandemic. I met a coronavirus-enlightened Uber driver in Lahore. He was wearing a face mask, regularly using hand sanitiser, encouraging his passengers to also do the same. He made rather compelling points on why people should stay home and how social distancing is the key to not catching the virus. At the end of the ride, he asked me which is the closest mosque where he could offer his Friday prayers?

Social distancing in Pakistan is good but when it comes to coronavirus jo Allah ki marzi.


Also read: Pakistani designer panned after her husband sends Covid-19 positive cook back to village


Pakistan waiting for Godot

Like the rest of the world, coronavirus outbreak is a real crisis for Pakistan. Yet our current state is like that of Vladimir and Estragon from Samuel Beckett’s tragicomedy Waiting For Godot. We are waiting for the arrival of someone named Godot who might never arrive, or guess what, he might not even exist. But we are waiting for you Godot to help us.

As we wait for Godot, an unending and rather useless debate on lockdown and curfew continues in Pakistan. What is a lockdown and what is a curfew? Can a poor country like Pakistan afford a curfew? But with hundreds and thousands of lives at stake, can the government afford inaction? One set of governments, Sindh, Balochistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan follow a strict lockdown. While Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with Islamabad are following a token lockdown.

In the middle of this chaos, there is no respite for Pakistan from the spread of Coronavirus. More than 1,000 people have now tested Covid-19 positive and the suspected cases now stand at 7,736. The country has also reported eight deaths.

The closure of markets, shopping malls, restaurants and public transport is one step to break the chain of the virus but the continuing Jummah congregational prayers in mosques doesn’t help the cause. The churches and temples in Punjab and Sindh were voluntarily closed by the Hindu and Christian community leaders after an increase in Covid-19 cases. The government, fearing backlash, has not been able to ban people praying in mosques.

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Also read: Despite highest COVID-19 cases in subcontinent, Pakistan yet to contribute to SAARC Fund


Pakistan never stops praying

The annual Tablighi Jamaat gathering brought 250,000 people from across 90 countries in Raiwind, a Lahore suburb, continued for a few days before it was called off. The result was that two men from Gaza were infected with coronavirus when they returned from Pakistan.

Twelve other participants of this Jamaat, from suburbs of Islamabad, have been found to be infected. Four others were found positive in Sindh. One Kyrgyzstan preacher of the Jammat was diagnosed in an Islamabad mosque, his 13 companions were quarantined and the mosque was locked down and disinfected. However, none of this has stopped the Tablighis from gathering, in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where hundreds of participants defied the law and continued to preach and pray.

One of the prominent leaders of the Tablighi Jamaat, Maulana Tariq Jameel, a close ally of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, could have been instrumental in stopping the main ijitima in Raiwind. After all, he is used to encouraging people to not shake hands and saying emotional prayers for PM Khan on national television. But sadly, a decree from the Maulana to influence his followers wasn’t something that government thought of.

The doubts that Pakistan’s first coronavirus victim, from Mardan may have exposed thousands of people to the disease is now becoming a reality. As many as 39 people who were in touch with the 50-year-old Saadat Khan have now tested positive. He had returned from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and was welcomed by 2,000 people in his village, ten days later he tested positive and died. His relatives say that he was sick when he arrived but was not screened at the airport. Failure to screen people at the airports has been the biggest blunder of this government.


Also read: Pakistani bureaucrat sings Shah Rukh Khan song with new lyrics to raise COVID-19 awareness


Where the President’s call goes in vain

Last Friday, despite a call from President of Pakistan Arif Alvi, encouraging people to offer Friday prayers at home, the Faisal mosque in Islamabad was flooded with people. This Friday won’t be any different. As Ruet-e-Halal Committee chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman announced that despite the coronavirus outbreak, the mosques will remain open for worship. He called coronavirus a warning from Allah for reformation.

President Alvi is back with another request, asking Ulema to stop congregational prayers in mosques. Why should a President make such requests when he, through his government, has the power to stop these prayers in public interest?

There is a belief at the mass level that not praying in a mosque is akin to leaving Allah. There is a strong resistance to even the advisory against avoiding handshakes, with believers saying that it is a Sunnah (tradition). To those who advise them against visiting mosques the ‘believers’ pose this question: what else are you willing to leave just to save your life?

That’s not all. At PIMS hospital in Islamabad, two Covid-19 patients, who went missing for a couple of hours, returned after offering Friday prayers at a nearby mosque. Even closing down mosques is not proving effective. Now, how does one explain people in Karachi, gathering in large numbers, to pray outside a closed mosque in a lockdown?

You cannot blame the people for having stringent beliefs, when Pakistan as a State over the years has overly relied on religion, giving the people a false sense that only they are the true contractors of Islam. This inculcation of Holier than thou attitude has led Pakistan to a point where you have a population that is resistant to change or scientific reasoning. The argument that Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Iran or Indonesia have all closed down mosques falls on deaf ears.

We hit a dead end when we reason that coronavirus has no religion, it will impact you and others regardless of your colour, religion or creed.

The need is to break the chain of stupidity. And the only way forward for the Pakistan government is to strictly close down mosques and stop people from ba-jamaat prayers and congregational religious activities, if at all it wants to deal with the storm that is coming Pakistan’s way.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

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74 Comments Share Your Views

74 COMMENTS

  1. Imran Khan Sahab bahut majbur Hue Pade hain please aap Hamari help Karen jaldi bhi nahin lag rahi hai 3320375619519… Raftaar number ..03416877366

  2. Islam is the only religion who did not differentiate the people caste creed.a beggar is have the guts to pray with shoulder to shoulder with the king of the country or any rich person in the prayer or namaz in front of the almighty.namaz for 5 times is an brother hood and health and exercise to the body and it is the duty of every muslim to perform namaz for 5 times for the better society. Like fasting also perform for one month for control the will power and shuting the body mechanism for 12 hours without eating here also a king and a beggar has no excuse.that is equals in islam .please don’t abuse others religions there faiths. islam is not permitted th at.leave the others or depends on their minds.please during these hard time it is permissible in islam to offer prayer in home by jamat.also to avoid this by contact one person to another .allah help all over world who are the sufferers.many have no food in that also peoples trying to abuse each other please help every one later religion first be human .

  3. Boss..my voice both Hindu and Muslim ..do not play your politics card on God name ..Allah and bhagwan all same..covid 19 religion dekhe infected nai ho ta hai..stay at home ..save our brother and sister..save humanbeing

  4. Lagta hai sare pakistani muslimo ko hindu pe kiye julmo ki saja mil rahi hai, jo tumhara aallah de raha hai, aa tumko tumhare pyare Aalha ka paas bhej diya jayega, Aalha ki marji yahi hai tum maro tumhare bure karmo ke liye

  5. Muslims Blind trusts of Allah .Allah of Allah world human animals and villages save Aallah support this everyone human this world .trust of Allah inshallah everyone save my prayers.

    • Believe me this namaj and pyarer is of no use… Follow strict social distancing or be ready to meet ur allah soon..may be he has discovered the vaccine for covid 19..
      Now I can understand why pakistan is suffering a lot…it is in this situation just because people like you…
      Who don’t even know a damn thing about covid 19 but can tell each and every verse from your so called holy quran..

      • Puneet I AM VERY FAR FROM YOU I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT WHAT IS THE POWER OF ISLAM …YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT ALLAH WE TRUST HIM ALONE …BUT WHO ARE YOU MY ISLAM DONT GIVE ME PERMISSION TO RAISE FINGER ON OTHER RELIGION BUT IN SHORT YOU HAVE LACKS OF GODS…….DONT WORRY BE PATIENT YOU WILL SOON SEE YOUR SELF IN HELL AND GET REGRET I WILL PRAY FOR YOU THAT YOU GET HIDAYAT….OF YOU WANT TO MEET ME I AM ASAD FROM ATTOCK PAKISTAN ….

        • Aren’t you ALL converted ones ? Yes you are, every single one if you…especially from Indian subcontinent. Not getting into details because we all know how that happened. So enough of your allah crap, we are done with your islam is peace, allah is most merciful “been there and done that”. WE all know its crappy worth.

    • Bhikari pakistan, pahle test to kar, tere ko bhi hoga, aab pakistan kuch hi dino ka mehman hai, tum sab aalah ke paas jaaoge jannat.

  6. With Allah blessings situation in pakistan is mich better than many other countries…. those who are concerned about pakistan plzzz stop doing so and start concerning ur countries….. stay safe

  7. Yes we have blind faith because we believe in the help of Allah which the human eye cant see and thats wat makes us muslims special
    Shutting off mosques can never be one of the first few steps of the preventive measures.
    Counteless precautions can be taken while going to the mosque.
    Only those people understand the importance of prayer who pray in the normal circumstances in the first place.

  8. Hope when those molvies see the consequences soon by themselves (Ameen) then they realise how flexible are the teaching of Islam to save the human and humanity regardless of the faith.
    Pakistan is the only country where the government has to fight with these illiterate molvies more than Corona virus.

    • You are illeterate not these molvis. How can you call a person who studied the Quran and sunnah illiterate and you secular slaves are literate. How will you testify on the day of judgement.

  9. There are cultural issues. Governments can give directions, not force. If necessary, Pakistan military can force people indoors, but then at what cause. India is locked down as too much at stake. Particularly loss of life could be huge and fortunately, India has enough reserves, if there is a termprary disruptions. Pakistan is not locked down as economy is already in shambles and it is difficult for Pakistan to withstand without any external aid or support. Comparing between countries is not fair. After all loss of human and earning member to a family is a big loss. Imran Khan or any country does not have magic wand.

  10. Asking for friday prayers on tuesday… Great…. The author has fabricated good story but she should have rather included asking for zuhr prayer instead of friday… Better luck next time…

    • Are you mentally challenged bro? Or you just don’t understand English like most Pakistanis? Offering friday prayers on tuesday this the IQ of Imran khan fans.

  11. Imran khan is the best prime minister as compared to other people always think wrong about Imran khan but Imran khan always think positive

  12. It’s intelligence of Imrankhan not to lockdown Pakistan because after death of some thousand Pakistani he can beg money from the world.

  13. Sir,one thing I want to tell you.we need not worry about pak. For that country their great friend China is there.Further whatever good things we tell they are going to insult us.Best method is to avoid them and keep distance .

  14. Imran khan has been a Pakistan team captain and has been a good strategist. During his captaincy, India played 15 Test matches between 1982 to 1990 with Pakistan, where Pakistan won 4 matches and rest were draw (wikipedia).
    I have seen in media that he has been quite open to dialogue and is willing to alter his strategy as per the need of the hour.
    Pakistan has lot to lose if his government fails in dealing with this epidemic.
    So let us wait till 14th April, then assess his government’s performance.
    I wish him and all countries’ governments best of luck. Let us all stay together and save the world as much as we can.

  15. There are mystery surrounding this corona virus.Many things we don’t know about this virus, this invisible particles have brought super power on its knee. Social distancing and hand sanitation is must but at this juncture prayer is equally important & do it from home.

  16. Just did a quick search, five days ago Maulana Jameel asked people to pray at home. Don’t believe everything you read. This is a time for people to look after each and for social distancing. Love not hate 💖

  17. India with lock down 17 death 719 positive case
    Pakistan without lock down 7 death 1000 positive case
    It’s not a big difference So thanks to God don’t wait to see others death
    Surely there is someone who take care of us

    • It’s just a bigening for pak when compare to India all the affected people were come from other countries to their own country there are only few members who affected by this in comparison because indians were spread over the world and everyone return to their nation, we will surely escape from the third level but what the Pakistan status people living in pak itself get affected and for more information after a week only we come to know we were affected so let’s see after a week cross the finger pray to God nothing has to happen

    • Population Density of India 465 Per Square Kilometers..
      Population Density of Pakistan 287 Per Square Kilometers.
      In That Case.. Pakistan Should not exceed more than 65% of India’s confirmed cases..
      Pakistani People Are Forced to Live in Tents ..
      No Sanitization..
      Younger population is more affected despite Covid-19 targets old aged people as per research
      Pakistani people are living on donations which is not even meeting average daily need
      Pakistani Has government has no available funds to tackle causing rapid spread
      A longer lockdown period will kill Pakistan’s Economy (Your Prime Minister already accepted)
      No economic balance
      No Emergency Funds
      Expecting donations from the countries you troll
      Sure, There is someone who was watching everything when Pakistan was spreading terrorism ❤️

  18. The problem is that these modern imams think that only they are right. Even though what they are going goes totally against what the Muslims during the time of prophet mohammed did. They used social distancing.

    Prophet Mohammed said, “If you hear of a plague in a land, then do not go into it. If it happens in land where you are, then do not go out of it.”

    Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5396, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2218

    During the Emmaus Plague (طاعون عمواس) in Syria 18 AH/640 CE.

    Amr bin. al-As took charge and he advised the people to scatter amongst the valleys and hills and not be congregated together. He informed them that plagues are like fires: they cause more havoc when spread in densely populated areas, and they don’t spread when people are far apart.

    This saved the early muslims

    • Darwin …wd no brain theory…arse of a monkey. His so called theory was stolen of another researcher at the the time- what a old fraud! And no way does this theory even fit in with the topic, this isn’t a disease caused by over prescribed medicines , you absolute donut, where you could argue about antibiotic resistance. What a twat!

  19. How Pakistan Became a Corona virus Super-spreader to the Entire Muslim World:
    Iran banned congregational prayer. Saudi Arabia closed the Ka’aba to pilgrims. Imran Khan allowed a quarter of a million Muslims to gather – and returning home, they’ve spread the coronavirus from Kyrgyzstan to Gaza Kunwar Khuldune Shahid in a Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz

  20. It is logical that Pakistani Muslims would want to visit mosques most days and especially on Fridays, corona or not. After all the religion is the only reason Pakistan exists, otherwise it would still be part of India. So good luck to them. Allah malik! We will be watching with interest and taking the precautions recommended.

  21. President, PM of Pakistan?? These are just honorary titles. Until Bajwa orders a complete lockdown, nothing will happen. Then all gatherings, prayer congregations and protests will fizzle out.

  22. Later they have to pay the price for all these activities. If it get worst, then complete Pakistan will be isolated by the world. Good luck to them.

  23. All molvis like Mufti Naeem should be asked to lead massive jummah prayers so that they get infected first and do tubah. munafiq molvis have got hundred and thousands poor Pakistanis killed in jihad and now they want ppl to die in masjids.

  24. That’s not all. At PIMS hospital in Islamabad, two Covid-19 patients, who went missing for a couple of hours, returned after offering Friday prayers at a nearby mosque.
    AND AFTER KILLING THOUSANDS OF PAKISTANIS 💣 this is jahalat nothing else.

  25. To be honest, they should not stop namaz. This is their moment of truth, the moment of testing their faith. If they now back off from worshipping their God, then it means they doubt their God’s ability to protect them, which makes the same as the wretched Kaffirs.

    • This is all Tribal mindset like their Religion which originated in the region dominated by Tribesmen in 8th Century AD.

      • Rajesh bhai! Yes we are the followers of a Tribsman; and we proud if it. We don’t even hate the followers of other religions rather have sympathies for them. Do remember, that our faith will win this battle. Pakistan will be corona free soon and all of our neighbours too.

        • Yes, even if Pak Army forces you to offer prayers at home also do not listen to them – go to masjid only. Even if the Pak Army puts you in the jail also thank Khudah for it. Inside the jail also incite other inmates to protest against army action. Dont be a coward. Your khudah will take care of you.
          Re pakistanis respect for their minorities, the whole world knows the position!

      • But their religion is at least better than those religions who divide humanity on the basis of body parts of since giant god. They say that few are the head of that god, few his abdomen, few his hands and feet and few his private dirty parts. At least they believe this much that none is neither than other except on basis of goodness.

    • This is all Tribal mindset like their Religion which originated in the region dominated by Tribesmen in 8th Century AD.

    • ”wretched Kaffirs” ? Most Muslims in the western world live on dole paid by the same ‘wretched Kaffirs’. ”But Pakistanis (and Muslims from other countries) spend a fortune trying to reach Western countries by hook or by crook. And if the whole family can’t make it, young men are put on dangerous paths at the mercy of people smugglers. ” Irfan Hussain in DAWN

  26. This is what happens when religion gets incorporated in Constitution. PM Modi should thank his stars to our makers of our constution to keep religion out of Indian Constitution

    • India is a secular country because Indian Hindus, who constitute the majority, and therefore have a proportional impact upon the political ethos, have created and defended a Constitution that is a remarkable triumph of reason over the temptations of sectarian passion. India is secular not because Muslims need it, but because Hindus want it. MJAKBAR

  27. “Allah/God is a sadistic creature,who will not intervene until scientist finds cure then take all the credit of being generous”

    Atheist

  28. Print takes sides of muslims in country as they are so called minority and bash hindus and defame their culture.But still it is the hindus who truly are minority and oppressed in a muslim country are the ones who have scientific temper.Review ur wrong deeds print and admit that islam is just a religion of terror and extremism. U didn’t bother to show the muslims are doing same in this country and this problem is more prevalent in subcontinent muslims who consider hindus as inferior just because they are loved here in india and remember value for life is not weakness and i would be honored to kill Muhammad when he was born so that we could be free of this religion.

  29. Gods of all on earth only living planet save Pakistan .This is really ridiculous. Globe is not safe now becuas it is now a global village. How come educated and scientists support this. Even at this stage PM Pakistan afraid of what.

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