04:39 GMT27 October 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Muslims in Pakistan have been violating the lockdown for the past three weeks to offer Friday prayers. Despite strict orders from the government, religious gatherings have continued, and police have even been attacked when they have tried to intervene.

    A delegation of clerics on Monday assured Prime Minister Imran Khan of their full support to implement the precautionary measures taken by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.

    Addressing media after the meeting, Pakistan's Minister for Islamic Affairs Maulana Moorul Haq Qadri said that Imran Khan expressed the hope that all clerics, mosques and citizens will follow the special operating procedures during Ramadan.

    "Citizens should follow laws on their own as this is a free country, governments have to force laws upon citizens in countries that are not liberated," Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said.

    Last week prominent religious leaders announced that the lockdown would not apply to mosques. However, a delegation of clerics has now said that the stance of the prime minister over the lockdown is a realistic approach.

    On Saturday, Pakistan President President Arif Alvi announced that mosques will remain open for prayers during Ramadan. He urged citizens and religious leaders to exercise discipline and take precautions while visiting to mosques.

    Pakistan, where the number of coronavirus cases jumped to around 8,700 on Monday, has been facing difficulty in fighting the pandemic and the clerics alike. For three consecutive weeks, the country has recorded incidents of violence during Friday prayers when police tried to stop worshippers from offering namaz.


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