Pak PM Khan reiterates govt’s strong stance against violence in name of religion

PTI, Dec 7, 2021, 8:08 PM IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday pledged that his government would not tolerate mob violence in the name of religion or spare those responsible for it, days after a Sri Lankan national was lynched by angry supporters of a radical Islamist party over blasphemy allegations, an incident that brought bad name to the country.

He was addressing a condolence meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office for Sri Lankan citizen Priyantha Kumara who was brutally lynched by a mob in Sialkot in Punjab province last week over blasphemy allegations. “Nobody will be spared perpetrating violence under the garb of religion,” he said.

He said the Sialkot incident brought the nation on the one point to ”put an end to such incidents”, adding that the people of Pakistan were united against extremism as they came together against terrorism after the attack on a school in Peshawar in 2014. He deplored that people in Pakistan were killing others in the name of the Holy Prophet and those accused of blasphemy rot in jails because lawyers and judges were scared to hear such cases.
“Judges refuse to hear blasphemy cases, we know that. Then who will defend these accused,” asked the premier. He said that Pakistan was the only country that was established in the name of Islam, but Sialkot-like incidents were a source of shame. He warned that “we are heading in a completely different direction” and urged the nation to study the life of the Prophet. He said even the overseas Pakistanis were ashamed of the Sialkot incident.
“Pakistanis living abroad couldn’t show their faces in public after this incident,” he said. Khan said that the business community of Sialkot has collected USD 100,000 for the deceased Sri Lankan citizen’s family, adding that the victim’s family will receive his monthly salary for the duration of their lifetime. Khan also praised a factory manager, Malik Adnan, who tried to save the life of the Sri Lankan national, saying it was admirable that a person tried to save another person’s life without caring for his own life. “Role models are important in the country because people follow them,” Khan said, adding, “moral power is greater than physical power.”

He said the youth would remember the way Adnan stood up to those monsters, who was already nominated for the Tamgha-e-Shujaat award that he would receive on March 23 next year. The mortal remains of the Sri Lankan national were sent to Colombo on Monday, while an anti-terrorism court granted physical remand of 26 accused for 15 days for investigation. Separately, a group of leading religious scholars representing various schools visited the Sri Lankan High Commission to condole the killing and condemn the murder. ”It was an inhumane act, and to accuse someone of blasphemy without proof is not in accordance with the Shariah,” said Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Qibla Ayaz, reading a joint statement from the ulema following their meeting with High Commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama. A mob of over 800 men, including supporters of hardline Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), attacked a garment factory and lynched its general manager, Diyawadanage, and set him on fire over allegations of blasphemy on Friday last in Sialkot district, some 100 km from Lahore. Prime Minister Khan last week tweeted that the horrific vigilante attack is a day of shame for Pakistan. Khan said he was overseeing the investigations and let there be no mistake, all those responsible will be punished with the full severity of the law. Similar sentiments were expressed on Monday during a Cabinet-level meeting.

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