Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday expressed his gratitude to the Sri Lankan government for allowing the burial of those who have died of COVID-19, instead of compulsory cremation. The change was announced by the Sri Lankan government a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan ended his two-day visit to the island country.

“I thank the Sri Lankan leadership and welcome the Sri Lankan govt’s official notification allowing the burial option for those dying of COVID 19,” said the Prime Minister in a tweet.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also welcomed the move, adding that “these very principles of mutual understanding, respect and humanity that bring relationships to thrive and prosper.”

On his maiden visit to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Imran Khan had raised the concern of forced cremation with Sri Lankan leadership. Until then, Sri Lankan authorities did not allow the burial of those dying of COVID-19, which is the method ordained in Islam for Muslims, and made the cremation of bodies compulsory. Around 10 % of Sri Lanka’s population comprises Muslims.

In a notification issued on Thursday, the Sri Lankan government amended the rules to substitute “shall be cremated” with “may be cremated or buried.”


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