8 more suspects arrested,
Friday announced as
‘Day of condemnation’


ISLAMABAD: Eight more suspects involved in Sialkot lynching tragedy have been arrested and the main alleged culprit Zakir Salman is among them who humiliated the dead body of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara. The total number of arrested people have reached 145 including 35 prime suspects.

Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has said all key suspects involved in the lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Sialkot last week over alleged blasphemy had been arrested while clerics from the All Pakistan Ulema Council with representation from all sects said Friday would be observed as a “day of condemnation” against the killing.

Family photo – victim Priyantha Kumara, wife Nilushi Kumara and two children

Priyantha Kumara, who worked as a manager at a garment factory in the city of Sialkot, was attacked and killed by a Muslim mob last Friday. The crowd also publicly burned his body over what police have said are accusations he desecrated religious posters.
Blasphemy is considered a deeply sensitive issue in Pakistan and carries the death penalty. International and domestic rights groups say accusations of blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Qari Hafeez Jalandhari, general secretary of the Wafaq-ul-Madaris, requested all religious scholars to reiterate the “true teaching” of Islam during the Friday sermon at mosques and imam bargahs across the country as part of the “day of condemnation.”
“We want clerics to remind people that Islam is the religion of peace and love,” he said. “We want them to remind people of the rights of minorities.”
On Tuesday, while addressing a memorial service for Kumara, Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “The government will not spare anyone who tries to use religion, particularly the name of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), to sommit violence. Such instances will not be allowed to take place on my watch.”
The prime minister also presented a certificate of appreciation to Malik Adnan, an employee in Sialkot who tried to shield Kumara from the mob.
“One moral man is an army,” Khan said as he praised Adnan for his bravery and called him an inspiration for Pakistani youth.
Adnan said he was dedicating the award to Kumara and the people of Sri Lanka.

Mrs Nilushi Kumara shows her husband Priyantha Kumara’s graduation photograph

“Today I am very proud and my message to the nation is that whenever you encounter such a situation, always stand with the oppressed,” Adnan said, adding that this was the lesson he had been taught by his parents and teachers.
Meeting with religious leaders on Tuesday, the high commissioner to Pakistan from Sri Lanka said his government was “very satisfied” with the steps taken by the government of Pakistan since the incident, which he added would not affect relations between the two countries.

Widow Nilushi Kumara’s appeal

Mrs. Nilushi Kumara, the widow of Sri Lankan export manager Priyantha Kumara who was brutally massacred in Pakistan on Friday, has appealed to the Pakistani government for justice and compensation over her husband’s killing and urged for the safety of all Sri Lankans on Pakistani soil.
Speaking to Daily Mirror on the eve of receiving her husband’s remains which will be flown in from Lahore on a special flight today, Nilushi said she demanded for answers as to why the mob in Sialkot killed her husband in such an inhumane manner, and she wanted compensation for a stable future for her two sons aged 14 and 9.
Nilushi who met Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne yesterday has also urged for the intervention of the Defence authorities to remove the videos and photographs of her husband’s brutal murder, saying it affected the family and her children.
“I have not had the courage to see these videos as it’s my husband’s final moments. I urge everyone to stop sharing these videos and pictures on social media and have sought the intervention of the Defence authorities to remove them from the internet,” Nilushi said.
“My house is presently a funeral home. But people forward these videos to us. It is affecting us.” she added.

COLOMBO: Airport staff carry the coffin with remains of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, who was beaten to death and burnt by the mob in Punjab province on last Friday, at Bandaranaike International Airport, in Katunayake, Sri Lanka.

Nilushi who now says she must protect the future of her two sons said her husband was the sole breadwinner of the family and since he was employed overseas she had quit her job as a teacher and was busy raising her children. Priyantha Kumara had been employed in Pakistan for the past 11 years and was employed in this factory for the past 9 years.
Nilushi described him as an innocent individual who cared for his employees and colleagues. He respected the Pakistani laws and lived as a peace-loving citizen. He also respected all religious views.
When questioned if she knew what led to Priyantha’s attack, she said she was still unaware of the exact details but said she had seen it in the news that there was a poster torn.  

“My husband lived in Pakistan for 11 years, and he never once complained about the people or his colleagues there. So he is definitely not mad to tear any poster. If I knew there was any threat on him, I would have never let him leave us,” she said.
She has called on the Sri Lankan government to also ensure justice over her husband’s killing and says this case must not be forgotten. She has also urged the Pakistan government to carry out a full investigation and provide her with answers. “I do not want this case to be swept away,” she said. 

Niroshi Dasaniyake, pleaded with both Pakistani and Sri Lankan leaders to ensure justice for her husband and the two children who survived him.
“My husband was an innocent man,” she told BBC Sinhala. “I found out from the news that after working abroad for so long he had been brutally murdered. I saw on the Internet how inhuman the killing was. I appeal to the Sri Lankan president and the Pakistani prime minister and president to conduct a fair investigation so my husband and our two children get justice.”