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Covid-19. Pakistanis rush to markets and mosques on the first day of Ramadan

Pakistanis marked the first day of Ramadan entering markets and mosques, ignoring recommendations to stay at home, in order to limit the spread of the Covid pandemic – 19.

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First day of Ramadan in Pakistan had a greater turnout than was expected in markets and mosques

REHAN KHAN / EPA

First day of Ramadan in Pakistan had a greater turnout than was expected in markets and mosques

REHAN KHAN / EPA

Pakistanis marked this Saturday the first day of Ramadan entering markets and mosques, ignoring the recommendations to stay at home, in order to limit the spread of the Covid pandemic – 19.

In Rawalpindi, the garrison city next to the capital Islamabad, thousands of people walked through the markets, some without protective masks, to buy enough to prepare dinner in order to properly celebrate the end of each fasting day. , in this holy month for Muslims.

Similar scenes have been seen in Peshawar, in the northwest of the country, and in Lahore, in the east. Present among customers of a pharmacy, Muneeb Khan, from 27, explained that he is tired of wearing a mask and gloves.

“How long will we have to use them? I've had enough time. Now it all depends on my mood. Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't, ”he admitted to the French agency France-Presse.

In the mosques in Islamabad, the crowd of believers was thinner than usual on the first day of Ramadan, but in other places in the country with 215 millions of inhabitants, social distance and The ban on older people from visiting places of worship was largely overlooked.

Zafar Mirza, special advisor on health issues for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, denounced the rush in the markets , asking people not to leave their homes.

“This goes against the guidelines”, lamented to the press.

Imran Khan has been criticized for the way he has managed the pandemic crisis, causing confusion when he says that Pakistan unlike other states, one cannot afford to impose strict restraint on the population.

Under pressure from clerics, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to lift the ban on prayers meetings in religious temples that lasted for weeks, despite maintaining the country's confinement, with schools and most of the shops closed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The opening of religious centers is subject to the fulfillment of a series of security measures, such as maintaining a meter of distance between the faithful, who must take their own prayer mats and, later, wash them in

In Pakistan, clergy exercise a great influence on the population and also depend on donations from the faithful.

The army, which plays a leading role in the country , asked Pakistanis on Friday to stay and pray at home.

Officially, Pakistan has more than 12. 000 cases of contamination with the new coronavirus, resulting in 256

Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims because it was during this period that the prophet Muhammad received the first revelations of the Quran. Fasting is one of the pillars of Islam and is mandatory. All healthy and adult Muslims must do so, but sick and elderly children are exempt.

Thus, this year, Ramadan, synonymous with a religious period of sharing, generosity and family gathering, promises to be gloomy for the hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and also in Europe.

The restrictions imposed in most countries, including Portugal, forced mosques to remain closed and the iftar, the daily fast-breaking meal, a generally friendly or festive moment, cannot be shared, as usual, in the family or among neighbors.

Globally, according to an AFP balance sheet , more than 200 a thousand people have died worldwide, since December due to the covid pandemic – 10, of which 90% in Europe and the United States United.

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