Pakistan: Mob brutally kills Sri Lankan citizen for ‘blasphemy’, burns dead body

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A Sri Lankan national was lynched by a mob in Pakistan’s Punjab province, allegedly over a blasphemy case.

Highlights

  • A Sri Lankan national was lynched by a mob in Pakistan over an alleged blasphemy case.
  • Priyanta Kumara (40) used to work as a general manager in a garment factory in Sialkot district.
  • Amnesty International, a global human rights watchdog, has called for an impartial investigation into the incident.

Lahore: A mob in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Friday thrashed a Sri Lankan national for alleged blasphemy and then burnt his body. Priyanta Kumara (40) used to work as a general manager in a garment factory in Sialkot district, about 100 km from Lahore, a Punjab Police official said. “Kumara allegedly tore up a poster of the radical Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in which verses from the Quran were written and then threw it in the dustbin, the official said.

‘Poster was pasted near Kumara’s office’

“The poster of the Islamic party was pasted on the wall near Kumara’s office,” the official said. Some workers of the factory saw him removing the poster and told this in the factory. Hundreds of people from nearby areas started gathering outside the factory over the alleged incident of blasphemy. Most of them were TLP activists and supporters. “The mob dragged the suspect (Sri Lankan national) out of the factory and thrashed him badly. When he died after a beating, the mob burnt his body before the police arrived.

The attackers were raising slogans in support of TLP
Several videos were released on social media showing hundreds of people standing around the body of a Sri Lankan national. They were raising slogans in support of TLP. Imran Khan’s government recently lifted the ban on the radical outfit after inking a secret pact with the TLP. Following the agreement, the organization’s chief Saad Rizvi and over 1500 activists who were lodged on terrorism charges were released from jail. Sialkot District Police Officer Omar Saeed Malik said a large number of police forces have been deployed to control the situation after the Sri Lankan national was lynched.

The situation is tense and all factories are closed
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar termed it a very sad incident and ordered the Director General of Police to investigate the matter and report to him within 24 hours. “Every aspect of the incident should be probed and a report should be filed,” the chief minister said in a statement. Action should be taken against those who have taken law in their own hands. The situation in the area is tense and all factories are closed. Police said that no one has been arrested so far. Meanwhile, Punjab government spokesman Hasan Khawar said that “around 50 people have been arrested”.

‘Killers committed un-Islamic, inhuman act’
According to the news of ‘Geo News’, the spokesperson said, ‘CCTV footage is being obtained so that those responsible for the incident can be identified. The IG has directed that the results be presented within 48 hours, after which the scope of investigation will be widened. The Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Religious Harmony Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said the killing of the factory manager on charges of blasphemy was “tragic” and “condemnable”. “Those who killed the Sri Lankan manager in Sialkot have committed an un-Islamic, inhuman act,” Ashrafi said.

There is a strict law in Pakistan on blasphemy
Condemning the incident, Amnesty International, a global human rights watchdog, has called for an impartial investigation. There is a very strict law in Pakistan for defaming Islam and there is also a provision of death penalty in it. Human rights activists say these laws are often used to fuel personal enmity. A US government advisory panel report says that Pakistan has the most blasphemy laws used in any country in the world.

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