SIALKOT (Punjab): A mob in Sialkot on Friday tortured a man to death before burning his body, while a heavy contingent of police has been sent to the area to bring the situation under control.
The incident took place on Wazirabad Road in Sialkot, where reportedly the workers of private factories attacked the export manager of a factory and burnt his body after killing him, Dawn has reported.
Sialkot District Police Officer Umar Saeed Malik said the man, identified as Priyantha Kumara, was a Sri Lankan national. He used to live in Sialkot.
Videos shared on social media showed hundreds of men and young boys gathered at the site, with groups of them chanting religious slogans. Most of the people surrounding the burning corpse, based on footage seen by Dawn.com, were seen recording it.
Police have not yet commented on the possible motive behind the murder. But Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the murder, terming it as a “very tragic incident”, while the spokesperson for Sialkot police said details would be shared with the media after initial investigation.
Buzdar has summoned a report from the inspector general of police and ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter. “Every aspect of the incident should be investigated and a report should be submitted. Action should be taken against those who take the law into their own hands,” the chief minister said.
Punjab Inspector General of Police Rao Sardar Ali Khan also took notice of the incident and directed the Gujranwala regional police officer to reach the location immediately.
“The Sialkot DPO is present on the spot. All aspects of the incident should be investigated,” the IGP said.
A similar incident in Sialkot in 2010 had shaken the country when a mob had lynched two brothers in the presence of police, declaring them dacoits. The incident sparked shock and horror across the country as cell phone footage of the heinous murders was uploaded to video-sharing sites.
Amnesty raises alarm
The London-based rights group Amnesty International on Friday expressed concern over the “disturbing” lynching and killing of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot, allegedly due to a blasphemy accusation.
“Amnesty International is deeply alarmed by the disturbing lynching and killing of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot, allegedly due to a blasphemy accusation,” the rights group said on Twitter. Pakistan authorities must immediately conduct an independent, impartial and prompt investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable, the group said. “Today’s event underscores the urgency with which an environment that enables abuse and puts lives at risk must be rectified,” it added.
Soon after the case was reported, a large contingent of police was sent to the city of Sialkot to bring the situation under control.
Several videos doing rounds on the internet showed scores of men gathered at the site. People can be heard chanting slogans of “Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah” in some of the videos.
This comes as the increasing cases of blasphemy in Pakistan continue to be a cause of concern for rights activists.
Pakistan has registered thousands of blasphemy cases, which are mostly against religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, Shia and Ahmadiya Muslims from 1987 till today, according to several reports by rights groups.