Watch: Locals clash with police after being halted from joining prayer congregation in Pakistan's Karachi
Photo: Zia Ur Rehman/Twitter video screengrab

The novel coronavirus outbreak has drawn different kinds of reactions from countries across the globe. Some like India has gone under a state of lockdown, while others continue to live some semblance of a normal life.

In Pakistan, while there is a ban on big congregational gatherings, several mosques remained open on Friday. According to a PTI report, the Sindh government had imposed restrictions for the afternoon -- from 12 noon till 3 pm -- in a bid to stop people from visiting mosques. The Punjab government adopted a slightly different route, issuing a fatwa and urging people to offer prayers at home. However despite instructions from the various provinces as well as the central government, not everyone was willing to listen.

Even as mosques made announcements asking people to stay at home, some clerics encouraged the opposite.

"The government and police are making statements to create a sense of fear. Nothing will happen. Karachi is a city of 20 million, the government cannot implement its decision in every nook and cranny," the prayer leader of the Jamia Mosque Quba told The Express Tribune.

According to reports, police officials had been deployed in some areas of Karachi, including the New Memon Mosque.

Going by a video posted on Twitter however, it would appear that people did more than defy curfew to pray. Journalist and author Zia Ur Rehman took to Twitter to share a video of locals reacting rather violently to police efforts to enforce the restrictions.

"Today when police reportedly tried to stop a Friday prayer congregation at a mosque forcibly in Karachi’s Liaquatabad, residents reacted violently," he wrote.

Another journalist, Naila Inayat added that the Imam had held prayers at the Ghousia mosque, and when the police arrived to arrest him, the Imam had instigated the mob to attack the officers.

Two police officials were assaulted in the commotion, Inayat reported.

In Pakistan there have so far been nearly 2,500 cases. 37 people who had tested positive have passed away.

Globally, the virus has so far affected over 1,041,000 people. According to the live tracker run by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University more than 55,000 people have passed away.

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