KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan deployed paramilitary troops early Friday to a shrine closed due to coronavirus restrictions, after hundreds of pilgrims trying to get in clashed with police.
Police said the pilgrims broke open the main gate of the the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a 13th-century mystic Sufi saint, located in the town of Sehwan in the southern Sindh province.
The crowds attacked police and threw stones Thursday night, police officer Mohammad Mushtaq said. Several police suffered minor injuries and investigations are ongoing.
Shrines in Pakistan were closed recently as part of measures to help stem the spread of coronavirus. Pakistan on Friday reported over 5,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day infection rate since June 2020.
Pakistan has reported a total of 678,165 infection cases and 14,613 deaths from coronavirus since last year.