As Friday prayers began in the main mosque here last week, worshipers filled the front courtyard. Late arrivals squeezed into the back and into overflow areas, disregarding the tape on the stone floor showing people where to stand to maintain social distance. It wasn’t just in Rawalpindi. Despite a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout Pakistan, officials in other major cities — Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore — described similar scenes during the holy month of Ramadan, which ends Saturday. The large religious gatherings reflect the conflict between Pakistan’s powerful imams, who successfully lobbied the government last month to allow congregational prayers, and health officials, who warn that the country’s fragile health system could be overwhelmed if current trends continue. “This is the […]