Dozens held after mob kills Sri Lanka national in Pakistan
More than 100 people have been arrested in Pakistan after a Sri Lankan factory manager was beaten to death and set ablaze by a mob who accused him of blasphemy, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday.
The vigilante attack has caused outrage, with Khan calling it a “day of shame for Pakistan” and later saying he had spoken to the Sri Lanka president about the killing.
Khan wrote on Twitter: “Spoke to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today in UAE to convey our nation’s anger & shame to people of Sri Lanka at vigilante killing of Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot.”
He added that more than 100 people had been arrested and would be “prosecuted with full severity of the law”.
The incident took place on Friday in Sialkot, a district in central Punjab province, about 200km southeast of the capital Islamabad.
Local police officials told AFP that rumours spread that Diyawadana had “torn down a religious poster and thrown it in the dustbin” and that up to 120 people had been arrested, including one of the main accused.
Tahir Ashrafi, a religious scholar and special representative of the prime minister on religious harmony, confirmed the arrests and told AFP that workers had complained of the manager being “very strict”.
“Police have arrested 118 suspects so far, including 13 prime suspects for their involvement in the lynching of the Sri Lankan national,” according to inspector general of police (Punjab) Rao Sardar Ali Khan, adding that an FIR has been registered against 800 people under terrorism charges.
Hasaan Khawar, a spokesman for Punjab government, told reporters on Saturday a post-mortem examination of the body had been done and the body would be handed over to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Islamabad.