COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekara on Tuesday demanded an apology from Pakistan’s Defence Minister Pervez Khattak for his insensitive remarks on the lynching of a Sri Lankan national by a frenzied mob in Punjab province.
Khattak on Monday said the ghastly lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana at the hands of a mob in Sialkot should not be linked to the Pakistan government’s recent decision to lift the ban on the hardline Islamist party, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), saying even “murders take place” when young people get emotional.
The senior Pakistani minister’s remarks came amid countrywide outrage after a mob comprising hundreds of protestors tortured to death the Sri Lankan factory manager over blasphemy allegations and then burnt his body on Friday.
Reacting to Khattak’s remarks, Weerasekara said Pakistan’s Minister of Defence must apologise to the people of Sri Lanka for those remarks, Sri Lanka’s News1st TV channel quoted the country’s public security minister as saying.
In a shocking incident on Friday last, supporters of TLP attacked a garment factory in Sialkot in Pakistan and lynched its general manager Diyawadana, 49, before setting his body on fire over allegations of blasphemy.
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.
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.
Lynching trial on daily basis
The trial of suspects in a case pertaining to the lynching of Sri Lankan man Priyantha Kumara by a sadist and immoral mob in Sialkot will be held on a daily basis.
The decision to this effect was taken during a meeting of the Punjab Cabinet Committee on Law and Order presided over by Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja. The committee directed police investigators to file the case challan in court within 14 days.
It condemned the Sialkot lynching incident, as well as the Faisalabad incident that involved four women being stripped and assaulted.
The meeting was attended by all the regional police officers (RPOs) and commissioners of the province via video link. The Gujranwala RPO gave a detailed briefing on progress thus far made in the Sialkot case, including arrests.
Raja Basharat instructed the prosecution department to set up a special cell to monitor the case trial. The committee also mulled over holding the trial of suspects inside jail and called for strict action to be taken against those responsible for the Faisalabad incident.