Renowned clerics in Pakistan on Tuesday unanimously condemned the ruthless mob lynching of Sri Lankan national under blasphemy allegations, denouncing it as “un-Islamic” and “extrajudicial”.
The ulema, representing a variety of sects, called for stern action against the culprits and announced that the forthcoming Friday will be observed as the “day of condemnation”.
Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Dr. Qibla Ayaz read out a joint statement from the ulema after their meeting with Sri Lankan High Commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama at the Sri Lankan Embassy.
He said, “It was an inhumane act, and to accuse someone of blasphemy without proof is not in accordance with the Shariah”.
He added that all scholars from various sects had gathered to express condolence and solidarity on the horrific incident. Ayaz said, “This tragedy caused anger worldwide as the mob brutally killed a man and later burned his body.”
Speaking at a presser at the Sri Lankan High Commission, with the High Commissioner, Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama, Special Representative to Prime Minister on Interfaith Harmony Tahir Ashrafi, and other renowned clerics in attendance, Qari Hanif Jalandhari said that Ulema will unequivocally condemn the heinous act, at mosques and Imambargahs on Friday across the country.
Mufti Taqi Usmani also addressed the gathering and said the delegation conveyed their heartfelt sorrow over the barbaric incident to the High Commissioner, the victim’s family, and the people of Sri Lanka.
He added, “Pakistan and Sri Lanka are two friendly countries and this tragic incident is not only painful for Sri Lanka but also for all of us as a shared grief”.
Mufti Usmani called for due punishment to the culprits involved in the act of barbarism. He expressed the hope that the government would compensate the victim’s family accordingly.
Expressing his thoughts, Ashrafi said the followers of all religions and religious scholars in the country strongly condemned the lynching of the Sri Lankan factory manager.
He added that leaders of religious organizations expressed grief and offered condolences to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and the people of the country.
“Those involved in the incident had not only brought bad name to the religion but the country as well,” he maintained.
Other scholars present at the occasion were also in agreement with the condemnations and expressed that the inhumane act could not be justified. They demanded the government to compensate the victim’s family, adding that every Pakistani is in pain and shares the grief with their Sri Lankan brothers.
Talking to the media, Sri Lankan High Commissioner said that it was tragic to see the brutal attack on Priyantha Diyawadana by the extremist mob.
The ambassador said, “However, we are happy that the government of Pakistan has taken stringent action against the culprits involved in the incident to punish them”.
He stated that a number of culprits had already been put behind bars.
He assured, “This incident will not affect bilateral ties between the two friendly countries”.
He said, “We are very confident that this particular incident will be handled by the government and justice will be provided to the victim’s family and children.”
The high commissioner thanked the delegation for expressing condolence to the people of Sri Lanka and the victim’s family. The minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Tuesday said that the Sialkot tragedy had elicited condemnations from across the country and said that the main culprits in the lynching have been arrested.
The minister said this during a meeting with Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Mohan Vijay Vikrama. Fawad also expressed regret over the incident and informed the high commissioner about the steps taken by the government after the incident.