Sri Lanka expects Pak to ensure justice for citizen tortured to death in Sialkot

The Sri Lanka government said on Friday that it expects that Pakistan authorities will take required action to investigate and ensure justice in an alleged incident of torture and burning of the body of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot earlier in the day, the Daily Mirror reported.

“The Foreign Ministry has received reports of an alleged incident of torture and burning of body of a Sri Lankan in Sialkot,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Sugeeshwara Gunaratna said.

He also said that the Sri Lanka High Commission in Islamabad is in the process of verifying the details of the incident from the Pakistan authorities, the report said.

According to Pakistan media, a mob in Sialkot on Friday tortured the General Manager of Rajko Industries in Sialkot to death over blasphemy allegations, before burning his body.

Rajko Industries is the company that had made the cricket jersey and gear for the Pakistan team for the T20 World Cup, the report said.

Sialkot district police officer Umar Saeed Malik identified the victim as Priyantha Kumara.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the “horrific, vigilante attack” on the factory and the burning alive of the Sri Lankan man “was a day of shame for Pakistan”.

“I am overseeing the investigations and, let there be no mistake, all those responsible will be punished with the full severity of the law. Arrests are in progress,” Imran Khan said, the report added.

A Sialkot resident took to Facebook to say that the victim had thrown a paper accidentally in the bin and that there was no deliberate blasphemy in the case.

The video of the horrific incident shows hundreds of people gathering at the crime scene. The episode has generated a lot of anger among the citizens on social media, with many blaming the government’s policies of appeasing extremist groups for a rise in incidents of violence.

A video doing the rounds on social media showed a young man confessing to torturing the man to death.

Pakistan PM’s aide Tahir Ashrafi condemned the incident, saying the lynching of the man is against the teachings of Islam.

“We are ashamed over this incident and offer condolences to Sri Lanka,” he added.

A police official, who arrived at the scene of the incident, had told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity that the deceased was the operational manager at the factory for the past seven years.

He said the Sri Lankan national was accused by the factory workers of “tearing down Durood Sharif” written on posters of a religio-political party on the factory walls.

Rumours then started circulating across the factory area and a mob started gathering in the morning, he said, adding that the police were informed about the incident much later, at around 12:15 pm.

When the police arrived at the scene, the victim had already been tortured to death and his body was being set on fire.

“The police did try to stop the mob from setting the body on fire, but the rioters’ strength was overwhelming,” the police told The Express Tribune.




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