Pakistan: Hundreds join Youm-e-Ali procession in Rawalpindi despite COVID ban

Hundreds of Shia Muslims joined a Youm-e-Ali procession in Rawalpindi on Thursday, despite a nationwide ban imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Participants could be seen carrying a symbolic coffin, in honour of Ali ibn Abi Talib, who Shia regard as Muhammad's rightful immediate successor, while chanting and performing self-flagellation. Marchers were crowded together, not following social... Еще distancing rules, while very few of them could be seen wearing face masks. «All other activities of life are continued and in these programs of Azadari (mourning) people are cured while they participate,» said a participant in the procession named Raja Zulfiqar Ali, who added that «we don't fear, there is nothing to scare.» Another participant named Zulfiqar Haider said «the data from around the world shows the death toll from corona[virus] is not more than two percent, even less than the road accidents.» The government of the Sindh province announced on Wednesday that religious gatherings were prohibited, however, the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen council (MWM) announced that the procession will take place as planned. Shia Muslims in Pakistan commemorate every year during Ramadan the day, Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, was martyred. As of Friday, Pakistan has reported more than 37,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 803 related deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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