Prime suspect in Sialkot lynching arrested: Shahbaz Gill

Sri Lankan citizen lynched in Sialkot over alleged blasphemy. (Source: Twitter)

KARACHI: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill on Friday announced that the prime suspect in the murder case of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot was arrested.

Taking to Twitter, the special assistant shared the images of the “prime suspect”, identified as Farhan Idress, being behind the bars and while committing the horrific act. “Wanted accused in Sialkot incident arrested,” he wrote as caption.  Farhan gave an interview to local news channels, taking pride in the murder he committed.

 

Earlier in the day, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the “cold-blooded murder” by the mob in Sialkot was “condemnable and shameful”. “Such extra-judicial vigilantism cannot be condoned at any cost,” the ISPR said.

The statement added that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had directed for all-out support to the civil administration to arrest the perpetrators of this “heinous crime” and bring them to justice.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the “horrific, vigilante attack” on the factory and the burning alive of the Sri Lankan man “was a day of shame for Pakistan”.

“I am overseeing the investigations and, let there be no mistake, all those responsible will be punished with the full severity of the law. Arrests are in progress,” he said.

Speaking to the media hours after the incident alongside Special Assistant to the Punjab Chief Minister on Information Hassan Khawar and Punjab IG Rao Sardar Ali Khan, Special Representative for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi condemned the lynching on “behalf of all ulemas” and said that it had “defaced Islam”.

Ashrafi said that the country had laws when it comes to Namoos-i-Risalat (the sanctity of the Prophet). He said that those responsible for the incident had not served the country or Islam and had gone against the religion.

“The elements involved in the incident have tried to damage Islamic laws and teachings,” he said, adding that the culprits will be punished for the “barbarism”.

The news that a Sri Lankan man was lynched at a factory in Sialkot has sent shockwaves through Pakistanis. The mob tortured the man, identified as Priyantha Kumara, to death over blasphemy allegations before burning his body.

As videos and pictures of the incident flooded social media, politicians, activists and netizens expressed shock over the gruesomeness of the murder and called the government’s attention to the rising extremism in the country.

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