ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari, while condemning the Sialkot lynching incident, on Monday called for proper implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) as Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid pledged to take tough action against all those involved in the lynching of the Sri Lankan citizen.

Speaking to the media, Dr Mazari said the government would review NAP to know why and where the plan was not being implemented.

She demanded strict action against all those elements who distorted the image of Islam, adding that torturing someone and putting the body of a victim on fire were against humanity.

“This killing is not acceptable. We condemn it strongly and now time has come to take action,” she said.

Rashid vows tough action against elements involved in lynching

Dr Mazari acknowledged that extremism was increasing in society, adding that time had come to take steps to stop this monster from spreading.

She said that NAP had been made after the Army Public School (APS) incident, but it could not be fully enforced till now.

“It is our duty to implement NAP strictly to discourage extremism and violence,” she said, adding that criminal laws were being amended and the government would complete the task in a month.

She said that changes in the laws were part of NAP and this exercise should have been done years ago, but it was not done.

“Pakistan is a Muslim country and Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, but what has happened in Sialkot is not acceptable,” Dr Mazari said.

She said that the Sialkot lynching of the Sri Lankan citizen was not the first incident as earlier Mashal Khan case had taken place and “two of our Christian community members were burnt. So it’s now time to take strict action”.

The minister urged different political parties within the Pakistan Democratic Movement to distance themselves from PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s statement on the Sialkot incident.

She defended the statement of Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, saying the latter had already clarified his position on the issue on Twitter.

In reply to a question about the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP) hardline stance on the issue of blasphemy laws, Dr Mazari said the federal cabinet would hold a discussion on the matter.

The TLP was linked to the Sialkot lynching incident on social media, but the party has distanced itself from the incident.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed visited the Sri Lankan High Commission in Islamabad and expressed his deep sorrow and grief over the killing of Priyantha Kumara.

The minister met High Commissioner Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama and told him that every Pakistani was in a state of shock and sorrow over the death of the Sri Lankan citizen.

He expressed condolences to the victim’s family and the people of Sri Lanka on behalf the people and government of Pakistan over the tragic death of Priyantha Kumara.

The interior minister said that all those involved in the incident would be brought to justice.

According to interior ministry, the Sri Lankan high commissioner expressed satisfaction over the progress in the case and said that both countries had cordial relations which would not be affected by the Sialkot incident.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2021

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