• PM Office holds reference for Sri Lankan victim
• Certificate of appreciation awarded to person who tried to save Priyantha
• Business community pledges $100,000 for heirs

ISLAMABAD: While condemning lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot, Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed that no one will be allowed to kill anyone in the name of religion and stern action will be taken against those who resort to violence in the name of Islam or the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

“I will not allow such incidents to happen as long as I am alive,” asserted Mr Khan while addressing the condolence reference held at PM Office for the Sri Lankan national who was lynched by a mob last Friday.

Members of the federal cabinet also attended the event, which was held to express solidarity with the victim’s family and the people and government of Sri Lanka.

The premier laid a wreath on a portrait of the late Kumara. On the occasion, he said the business community in Sialkot had collected $100,000 for the victim’s family and that they would continue to receive his monthly salary.

Lamenting the cruelty in the name of Islam, Mr Khan said people attacked others in the name of religion despite the fact that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) preached peace [...], kindness and justice.

“Justice is meted out in a humane society, but there is no rule of law in a society of animals,” he remarked.

Referring to deterioration of social values, he said society had reached a point where if someone was accused of blasphemy, the victim rotted in jail, as everyone seemed reluctant to investigate what had actually transpired. “Everyone is afraid of it. In fact lawyers do not come forward and judges also refuse to hear the cases,” Mr Khan noted.

In this situation, the PM said it was heartening to see that a person, Malik Adnan, tried to save his colleague by risking his own life. “I am sure our youth will remember the way Malik Adnan stood up against those beasts,” he added.

On the occasion, a certificate of appreciation from the government was awarded to Mr Adnan. Earlier on Sunday, the PM had taking notice of his struggle to defend his colleague lauded the “moral courage and bravery” and announced that he would be honoured with the Tamgha-i-Shujaat.

Hailing his gallantry efforts, the prime minister said: “It was painful to see what the mob did [to Kumara], but seeing Adnan restored our faith in humanity.” He said Tamgha-i-Shujaat would be awarded to Mr Adnan on Pakistan Day.

Prime Minister Khan also recalled the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar, and said the horrific incident had united the nation that resolved to end terrorism. Similarly, he added, “after the Sialkot incident, the whole nation has decided that we will not let such a thing happen again.”

He urged the nation to read more and more about the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). “Our country is the only one that was built in the name of Islam, but the Sialkot incident has brought us embarrassment,” he said, adding that he received many messages from those living abroad.

Mr Khan also noted that Indian media highlighted the Sialkot tragedy with an aim to defame Pakistan. “Their TV programmes portrayed the incident as a routine occurrence in Pakistan, which is unjust,” he observed.

A short documentary promoting interfaith harmony was also screened at the event.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2021

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