On April 23, Prime Minister Imran Khan staged a four-hour “telethon” to gather funds for the coronavirus disaster and ended up netting almost three billion rupees earlier than asking his favorite cleric, Tariq Jameel, to wish. The mountebank priest first rejected the phrase “fight” towards the coronavirus as a result of it was “a curse of Allah” and wanted repentance from a nation he thought was corrupt and lascivious. Khan and the nation took it because the previous regular and bowed their head.
Unsurprisingly, the clergy in Pakistan has the higher hand and has defeated the medical doctors in deciding the state coverage towards COVID-19, which had struck 10,500 victims and had claimed 280 lives on the finish of April. The medical doctors raised the alarm after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) reached an “accord” with the “top” clergymen of the nation to let folks throng the mosques 5 occasions a day, plus particular prayers in the course of the month of Ramadan falling within the final week of April, relying on particular moon-sighting by the identical non secular panjandrums.
Then, one thing humorous occurred. Another senior priest of Pakistan, Mufti Munib, received on to a roof in Karachi to sight the Ramadan moon however didn’t discover it. There is an Islamic lunar calendar predicting precisely the rising moon each month however the clergymen would have none of it. When the moon was not sighted on Thursday, the mufti declared that the next day wouldn’t be the primary day of fasting. Saudi Arabia, nevertheless, introduced Ramadan and so did the rebellious mullah Popalzai of Peshawar, claiming he had seen the moon. Now, like many occasions prior to now, Pakistan will get cut up over fasting and find yourself celebrating two Eids.
PM Khan was by no means for following the medical doctors — dozens of whom have fallen sufferer to the pandemic whereas treating victims — as a result of he cared for the livelihood of the plenty residing under the poverty line. Then the mullahs pitched in, led by Mufti Taqi Usmani, who scares everybody due to his de facto authority inside Pakistan and among the many Arabs. In this case, he defiantly overruled the Saudi monarchy that had determined to ban all congregation along with the opposite Gulf states.
The Khan authorities had determined to unrealistically enable the mosque administration to say a three-man namaz (sic). Usmani joined up with the state-appointed “moon-spotting” mullah Mufti Munib to declare that the government-allowed mosque namaz was not acceptable and that individuals ought to throng to their native mosques as earlier than. Then Khan determined to parley with the insurgent clerics and ended up permitting the mosque prayers that might unfold the pandemic like wildfire. Both sides agreed on an unrealistic recipe of holding the devotees three toes aside whereas praying, which nobody believes could be put in follow.
The medical doctors of Pakistan stated in a letter that if the mosques have been opened, the nation’s medical service wouldn’t have the ability to deal with the victims. They warned that “with mosques across the country being filled predominantly by people over the age of 50, the risk of the virus spreading is high”. They disclosed that in “the past 48 hours more than 80 per cent of the people” praying in mosques have been of their 60s and 70s. “Clearly this has resulted in the violation of the first and foremost principle of preventing the spread of the virus in the most vulnerable group of elderly people”, said the letter from the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA).
One-third of Pakistan’s inhabitants lives under the poverty line, whose kids find yourself in free-boarding madrassas. The madrassa’s worldview is concentrated totally on jihad and the rejection of contemporary life. According to 1 report, there have been 300 madrassas in Pakistan in 1947; at the moment, there are greater than 35,000. Poverty and an absence of regular training set the stage for faith as a psychological refuge of uncared for populations.
In India, too, the Muslim minority, as seen on TV being overwhelmed up by Hindu vigilantes, has turned inward to faith. Small-time Muslim shopkeepers spend time incomes their every day wage and going 5 occasions a day to their native mosque and change into targets of the communal discrimination that has hit South Asia. In Pakistan, it’s going to be unattainable to maintain the plenty away from the mosque the place they’re prone to catch COVID-19.
The author is consulting editor, Newsweek Pakistan
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd