Pakistan Today (Lahore)

Clergy condemns ‘un-islamic’ killing of Lankan man


Clerics from various sects Tuesday unanimousl­y condemned the “un-islamic” and “extrajudic­ial” murder of Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lanka national who was killed by a charged mob in Sialkot, and demanded that strict action be taken against the perpetrato­rs.

Kumara, who was employed in a garment production unit as its general manager for over 10 years, was killed on Friday on allegation­s of blasphemy.

His mutilated body was later dragged on the road and set on fire by the mob, receiving nationwide condemnati­on.

The grisly murder of Kumara “was an inhumane act, and to accuse someone of blasphemy without proof is not in accordance” with the religious teachings, said Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz who read out a joint statement from clerics following a meeting with Sri Lanka High Commission­er Mohan Wijewickra­ma at the High Commission in Islamabad.

The horrific incident has prompted days of soul searching, drawing intense responses from politician­s, celebritie­s and journalist­s on social media.

“Ashamed!! Sick to my stomach!!,” actress Mahira Khan wrote tweeted shortly after the killing.

The killing raised alarm over the potential for accusation­s of blasphemy to fuel crowd violence in Pakistan, coming just weeks after at least seven policemen were killed in clashes with the radical Tehreek-i-labbaik Pakistan (TLP) movement, which has built its identity on fighting blasphemy.

Ayaz, who termed the incident against the teaching of the Holy Quran, the Constituti­on and the laws governing Pakistan, lamented “the act of some people brought shame to the people of Pakistan.”

There was no place for extremism and violence in Islam, he said. He said scholars from across the religious aisle had gathered to express condolence and solidarity on the incident.

The cleric also urged religious scholars to play their due role in uprooting the menace of religious fanaticism.

“The strictest possible legal action must be taken against these miscreants,” he demanded.

He added the clergy was fully onboard with the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to award Tamgha-i-shujaat to Malik Adnan, Kumara’s underling who had unsuccessf­ully tried to shield him from the mob.

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