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Sialkot incident: Sri Lanka demands ‘immediate’ inquiry, justice

People call it a 'day of shame' for Pakistan

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Dec 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
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Over 120 people have been arrested in over 50 areas of Sialkot after a mob of factory workers and others killed and burned the body of a Sri Lankan national over alleged blasphemy allegations. The police have formed ten teams to identify and arrest the persons involved in the lynching of the Sri Lankan national. A search operation is underway to arrest the prime suspects in the case. Prime Minister Imran Khan says it was "a day of shame" for the country and everyone involved would be arrested. Sri Lanka's foreign ministry has demanded "required action to investigate and ensure justice" while Amnesty International has emphasized an independent investigation into the incident saying the environment enabling abuse must be rectified. The 🇱🇰 Foreign Ministry has received reports of an incident of torture & burning of body of a Sri Lankan in #Sialkot, #Pakistan. The Sri Lanka High Commission in #Islamabad is in the process of verifying the details of the incident from the 🇵🇰 authorities. @SLinPakistan— MFA SL 🇱🇰 (@MFA_SriLanka) December 4, 2021 On Saturday, the Srilankan prime minister expressed condolences with the grieving family. He tweeted: "Sri Lanka and its people are confident that PM Imran Khan will keep to his commitment to bring all those involved to justice." The Sri Lankan national was working as a senior manager at a leading Sialkot factory that manufactures and exports sports products. The factory is located on Wazirabad Road. Details of the incident began to emerge hours after graphic lynching videos went viral on social media. District Police Officer (DPO) Sialkot Umar Saeed Malik has issued a statement giving the following sequence of the events. At 11:30am, the police received information about a brawl and torture of a worker in a factory located at the Wazirabad Road. Ugoki Police Station SHO arrived at the scene by 11:50am and found that some incensed people had set a person on fire. The police doused the flames.After getting the report of the unfortunate incident, the DPO Sialkot and other police officials arrived at the scene and controlled the situation.The police have registered an FIR No. 1412 under sections 431, 427, 149, 147, 297, 201, 302, and 7ATA at Ugoki Police station against unidentified people and have launched an investigation. At least ten investigation teams have been formed under the DPO and they are carrying out raids to arrest the accused who are being identified from the [viral] videos Punjab Government Spokesman Hasaan Khawar told journalists that the people who have been arrested were identified through CCTV footage. The police tweeted two photos of an accused, named Farhan Idrees, who earlier appeared on one of the viral videos and supported the violence against the Sri Lankan national. One of the photos tweeted by the police shows him behind bars while the other is from the viral video. سیالکوٹ واقعہ میں پولیس نے تشدد کرنے اور اشتعال انگیزی میں ملوث ملزمان میں سے ایک مرکزی ملزم فرحان ادریس کو گرفتار کر لیا ہے۔ 100سے زائد افراد کو حراست میں لےلیا ہےآئی جی پنجاب سارے معاملہ کی خود نگرانی کر رہے ہیں باقی ملزمان کی گرفتاری کیلیے چھاپے مارے جارہے ہیں@UsmanAKBuzdar pic.twitter.com/v7YOpQxwXs— Punjab Police Official (@OfficialDPRPP) December 3, 2021 The tweet said the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) was overseeing the investigation and raids were being carried out to arrest other suspects. Hasaan Khawar earlier said that action will be taken against each and every individual involved in the attack. “We have begun an impartial investigation and justice will be served in this incident,” he said. The allegation Local sources told SAMAA Digital that the Sri Lankan national, reportedly the general manager of operations of the leading factory, was accused of blasphemy after he tore down stickers of a religious outfit pasted on a wall of sports goods manufacturing unit and threw them in a dustbin. The allegation and rumours of blasphemy spread among the factory workers and they first came out of the installation to protest on the road. The mob then re-entered the factory and tortured the victim, beating him to death. After killing the manager, the mob then dragged the body out and set it on fire in the middle of a road. Some of the viral videos show rescue 1122 workers at the scene as the mob hits the victim's motionless body and set it on fire. A rescue 1122 official told BBC Urdu that they arrived at the scene by 11:35am but there were only a few policemen and it was not possible for the police or rescue staff to rescue the victim from the mob. One of the videos shows a mob standing by a body on fire. They can be seen chanting slogans afterwards. The mob reportedly continued to rampage on Wazirabad Road until 12:30pm. CM Punjab takes notice When the police arrived at the spot they moved the charred remain to a public sector hospital. Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar has taken notice of the incident and ordered an inquiry. He has ordered Punjab Inspector General Police to submit a report after investigating the incident from all dimensions. The chief minister said that no one will be allowed to take law into their own hands. I am extremely shocked at the horrific Sialkot incident. I have instructed IG Police to thoroughly investigate it. No one is allowed to take law in their hands. Rest assured, individuals involved in this inhumane act will not be spared!!— Usman Buzdar (@UsmanAKBuzdar) December 3, 2021 CM Buzdar said it was an "extremely shocking" incident and the government would act against lawbreakers. 'We are ashamed' Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, the PM’s special representative on religious harmony, has condemned the killing of the Sri Lankan national in Sialkot on "behalf of all ulemas" and said that "we are ashamed" over the incident. "The killing of the factory manager on alleged blasphemy is highly regrettable," he said speaking to journalists in Lahore. Those responsible will be arrested and justice will be served, he added. “Pakistan has laws that deal with blasphemy and by taking the law into their hands the attackers have insulted the country's laws.” He said this was an un-Islamic and inhumane act and "we are ashamed” over it. Ashrafi termed the incident an “insult” to Islam and the teaching of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He said the government was responsible for protecting the foreign national. On Saturday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that "time bombs that we planted in society will continue to explode if not defused". He slammed people who were unempathetic towards the incident warning that the indifference could lead to a bigger tragedy. "Until the next such incident occurs, our conscience remains buried; this apathy is an indication of a bigger storm. Blood has been spilled in the countries due to people's dead conscience," Chaudhry said. Pakistan Twitter condemns the brutal murder Hundreds of Pakistanis took to Twitter to condemn the "brutal" murder of the Sri Lankan national and blamed the government policies for the incident. Some said it would alienate Pakistan internationally and hurt the country's exports. They underscored that Sri Lanka has been the only country in the SAARC region that maintained friendly relations with Pakistan. Most Pakistanis, tweeting in the Urdu language, were in introspection mode. Makhzan Ali (@makhzanal) said Sri Lankan sent its cricket team to Pakistan during the "testing times" after the 2009 Lahore attack. He said Indian involvement in the Sialkot incident could not be ruled out. Junaid (@M_Junaidd) said, "What wrong Sri Lanka has committed that we neither protect their cricket team nor their businessmen." This brutality is not committed in any other country except in India, he said. Some feared that the incident could lead to reprisal attacks against Sri Lankan Muslims. People demanded that the federal interior minister should immediately resign. The incident has renewed old wounds of the country as well. A day after the incident was reported Mashal Khan and Salman Taseer started trending on Twitter. Khan, a student of the Department of Mass Communication at Abdul Wali Khan University, was killed by a mob on allegations of blasphemy in April 2017. Salman Taseer, too, was killed by his guard over accusations of blasphemy.
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Over 120 people have been arrested in over 50 areas of Sialkot after a mob of factory workers and others killed and burned the body of a Sri Lankan national over alleged blasphemy allegations.

The police have formed ten teams to identify and arrest the persons involved in the lynching of the Sri Lankan national. A search operation is underway to arrest the prime suspects in the case.

Prime Minister Imran Khan says it was “a day of shame” for the country and everyone involved would be arrested.

Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry has demanded “required action to investigate and ensure justice” while Amnesty International has emphasized an independent investigation into the incident saying the environment enabling abuse must be rectified.

On Saturday, the Srilankan prime minister expressed condolences with the grieving family. He tweeted: “Sri Lanka and its people are confident that PM Imran Khan will keep to his commitment to bring all those involved to justice.”

The Sri Lankan national was working as a senior manager at a leading Sialkot factory that manufactures and exports sports products. The factory is located on Wazirabad Road.

Details of the incident began to emerge hours after graphic lynching videos went viral on social media.

District Police Officer (DPO) Sialkot Umar Saeed Malik has issued a statement giving the following sequence of the events.

  • At 11:30am, the police received information about a brawl and torture of a worker in a factory located at the Wazirabad Road. Ugoki Police Station SHO arrived at the scene by 11:50am and found that some incensed people had set a person on fire. The police doused the flames.
  • After getting the report of the unfortunate incident, the DPO Sialkot and other police officials arrived at the scene and controlled the situation.
  • The police have registered an FIR No. 1412 under sections 431, 427, 149, 147, 297, 201, 302, and 7ATA at Ugoki Police station against unidentified people and have launched an investigation.
  • At least ten investigation teams have been formed under the DPO and they are carrying out raids to arrest the accused who are being identified from the [viral] videos

Punjab Government Spokesman Hasaan Khawar told journalists that the people who have been arrested were identified through CCTV footage.

The police tweeted two photos of an accused, named Farhan Idrees, who earlier appeared on one of the viral videos and supported the violence against the Sri Lankan national. One of the photos tweeted by the police shows him behind bars while the other is from the viral video.

The tweet said the Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) was overseeing the investigation and raids were being carried out to arrest other suspects.

Hasaan Khawar earlier said that action will be taken against each and every individual involved in the attack. “We have begun an impartial investigation and justice will be served in this incident,” he said.

The allegation

Local sources told SAMAA Digital that the Sri Lankan national, reportedly the general manager of operations of the leading factory, was accused of blasphemy after he tore down stickers of a religious outfit pasted on a wall of sports goods manufacturing unit and threw them in a dustbin.

The allegation and rumours of blasphemy spread among the factory workers and they first came out of the installation to protest on the road. The mob then re-entered the factory and tortured the victim, beating him to death.

After killing the manager, the mob then dragged the body out and set it on fire in the middle of a road.

Some of the viral videos show rescue 1122 workers at the scene as the mob hits the victim’s motionless body and set it on fire. A rescue 1122 official told BBC Urdu that they arrived at the scene by 11:35am but there were only a few policemen and it was not possible for the police or rescue staff to rescue the victim from the mob.

One of the videos shows a mob standing by a body on fire. They can be seen chanting slogans afterwards.

The mob reportedly continued to rampage on Wazirabad Road until 12:30pm.

CM Punjab takes notice

When the police arrived at the spot they moved the charred remain to a public sector hospital.

Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar has taken notice of the incident and ordered an inquiry. He has ordered Punjab Inspector General Police to submit a report after investigating the incident from all dimensions.

The chief minister said that no one will be allowed to take law into their own hands.

CM Buzdar said it was an “extremely shocking” incident and the government would act against lawbreakers.

‘We are ashamed’

Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, the PM’s special representative on religious harmony, has condemned the killing of the Sri Lankan national in Sialkot on “behalf of all ulemas” and said that “we are ashamed” over the incident.

“The killing of the factory manager on alleged blasphemy is highly regrettable,” he said speaking to journalists in Lahore.

Those responsible will be arrested and justice will be served, he added.

“Pakistan has laws that deal with blasphemy and by taking the law into their hands the attackers have insulted the country’s laws.”

He said this was an un-Islamic and inhumane act and “we are ashamed” over it.

Ashrafi termed the incident an “insult” to Islam and the teaching of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

He said the government was responsible for protecting the foreign national.

On Saturday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that “time bombs that we planted in society will continue to explode if not defused”. He slammed people who were unempathetic towards the incident warning that the indifference could lead to a bigger tragedy.

“Until the next such incident occurs, our conscience remains buried; this apathy is an indication of a bigger storm. Blood has been spilled in the countries due to people’s dead conscience,” Chaudhry said.

Pakistan Twitter condemns the brutal murder

Hundreds of Pakistanis took to Twitter to condemn the “brutal” murder of the Sri Lankan national and blamed the government policies for the incident.

Some said it would alienate Pakistan internationally and hurt the country’s exports.

They underscored that Sri Lanka has been the only country in the SAARC region that maintained friendly relations with Pakistan.

Most Pakistanis, tweeting in the Urdu language, were in introspection mode.

Makhzan Ali (@makhzanal) said Sri Lankan sent its cricket team to Pakistan during the “testing times” after the 2009 Lahore attack. He said Indian involvement in the Sialkot incident could not be ruled out.

Junaid (@M_Junaidd) said, “What wrong Sri Lanka has committed that we neither protect their cricket team nor their businessmen.” This brutality is not committed in any other country except in India, he said.

Some feared that the incident could lead to reprisal attacks against Sri Lankan Muslims.

People demanded that the federal interior minister should immediately resign.

The incident has renewed old wounds of the country as well. A day after the incident was reported Mashal Khan and Salman Taseer started trending on Twitter.

Khan, a student of the Department of Mass Communication at Abdul Wali Khan University, was killed by a mob on allegations of blasphemy in April 2017.

Salman Taseer, too, was killed by his guard over accusations of blasphemy.

 
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