“Day of Shame for Pakistan,” Says Imran Khan As Sri Lankan Man Lynched

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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. — File photo

“Let there be no mistake all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law,” Imran Khan tweeted.

Clarion India

LAHORE — “A day of shame for Pakistan” said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday after a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) southeast of the capital Islamabad, was beaten to death and set ablaze by a mob in an incident local media reported was linked to alleged blasphemy.

Few issues are as galvanising in Pakistan as blasphemy, and even the slightest suggestion of an insult to Islam can supercharge protests and incite lynchings

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he would personally oversee an investigation into “the horrific vigilante attack,” reports AFP.

“Let there be no mistake all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law,” Imran Khan tweeted.

 

Several gruesome video clips shared on social media showed a mob beating the prone victim while chanting slogans against blasphemy.

Other clips showed his body set ablaze, as well as the overturned wreckage of what was said to be his car, according to the report.

Many in the mob made no attempt to hide their identity and some took selfies in front of the burning corpse.

Police have already arrested 50 people in this case, informed Punjab government spokesman Hassaan Khawar told reporters in Lahore.

“CCTV footage is being carefully looked into as we have been directed to complete the inquiry within 48 hours,” Hassaan Khawar said.

The slogans chanted in the social media videos were the same used by supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on earlier occasions.

The TLP has in the past paralysed the country with protests, including an anti-France campaign after Paris-based satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year republished cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed (SAW).

On Sunday thousands of people torched a police station in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after demanding officers hand over a man accused of burning the the copy of holy Qura’an.

A senior Pakistan official told AFP that Islamabad had been in touch with Sri Lankan diplomats over the incident “and have assured them that all those involved in the heinous crime will be brought to justice”.

Rights groups say accusations of blasphemy can often be wielded to settle personal vendettas, with minorities largely the target.

“Today’s event underscores the urgency with which an environment that enables abuse and puts lives at risk must be rectified,” Amnesty International South Asia said in a tweet under the hashtag “Sialkot”, which was trending in Pakistan.

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