Religious scholars vow
to bring culprits of
Sialkot lynching to justice


ISLAMABAD: Clerics from various schools of thought on Tuesday unanimously condemned the brutal lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot, calling it “un-Islamic” and “extrajudicial” as they demanded that strict legal action will be meted out to those responsible.

Kumara, a senior manager in a factory in Sialkot, was tortured to death on Friday (Dec 3) by hundreds of protesters, including the factory employees, and his body was later burnt over allegations of blasphemy.

ISLAMABAD: Sri Lankan High Commissioner Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama speaks along with Special Representative to Prime Minister on Interfaith Harmony and Middle East and Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi along with Chairman of Council of Islamic Ideology and Ulema from different schools of thoughts talking to media persons after meeting at Sri Lankan High Commission.

“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 Dr Qibla Ayaz as he read out a joint statement from ulema following their meeting with Sri Lankan High Commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Islamabad.

The promise was made as the ulema addressed a press conference flanked by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Mohan Vijay Vikrama in Islamabad.

A delegation of religious scholars from all sects, led by Wifaqul Madaris Al-Arabia President Mufti Taqi Usmani, had a short while earlier met the Sri Lankan high commissioner to offer their condolences over the gruesome murder of Priyantha in Sialkot on Friday.

COLOMBO: At least ten associations staged a silent demonstration outside the High Commission of Pakistan today condemning the heinous attack on Nandasiri Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot, Pakistan and demanding justice for him. Multi-religious leaders were also present at the occasion.

The scholars said their visit was to express grief over the unfortunate incident and assure the Sri Lankan government’s representative that the issue would be dealt with justly. “The incident has shaken the entire nation to its core,” Mufti Taqi Usmani said in his address.

He expressed solidarity with the Sri Lankan people on behalf of the religious scholars of Pakistan, saying that they [the ulema] equally share the other side’s grief.

Mufti Usmani said Priyantha’s family would also be compensated for their loss, “Even though there can be no real compensation [for the loss of a life].”

Victim Priyantha Kumara

The delegation also requested Mohan to convey their heartfelt condolences to the people and government of Sri Lanka. He also thanked Mohan for giving them a chance to meet him.

Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Qibla Ayaz said action will be taken on the incident in line with the laws of Pakistan. Former senator and religious scholar Sajid Mir said that no amount of condemnation of the Sialkot incident is enough. “We are with Priyantha’s family,” he added.

Sahibzada Hamid Raza said the religious scholars of Pakistan will play their role in bringing the culprits to justice.

The Sri Lankan high commissioner, offering his remarks, said: “All of us strongly condemn the incident.” “Not only should such incidents not occur in Pakistan, but in the entire world as well,” he said.

The high commissioner said he is satisfied with the measures taken by the Government of Pakistan in dealing with the issue. He reiterated that the incident will not affect ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.