ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday spoke to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and conveyed nation’s anger and shame over vigilante killing of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot. 

In his tweet, the Prime Minister said he informed the Sri Lankan President about more than one hundred arrests made in connection with the killing and assured him that responsible elements involved in the incident would be prosecuted with full severity of law. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday expressed deep concern and shock over the fatal attack on a Sri Lankan working in Pakistan’s Punjab province. 

 They expressed confidence that Pakistani PM Imran Khan would bring perpetrators to justice. President Gotabaya, who is currently attending the Indian Ocean Conference in Abu Dhabi, said in a tweet: “Deeply concerned by the incident in Sialkot #Pakistan. #SriLanka trusts that PM @ImranKhanPTI and the Gvt. of Pakistan will ensure justice is served and ensure the safety of the remaining Sri Lankan workers in Pakistan,” a day after a violent mob lynched a Sri Lankan national, before burning his body, over alleged blasphemy. 

Priyantha Diyawadana, from Sri Lanka’s central Kandy district, was employed as the general manager of a garment factory in Sialkot district, some 100 kms from Lahore. 

Sialkot incident accused will not escape justice: Punjab CM

13 prime suspects among 118 arrested in police crackdown: IGP

Earlier on Saturday, Sri Lanka’s Parliament condemned the incident, and urged Islamabad to ensure the safety of other Sri Lankan workers residing in Pakistan. Also, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his shock at the heinous murder of a Sri Lankan national and said that he hoped Prime Minister Imran Khan would ensure that justice is served.

“Shocking to see the brutal and fatal attack on Priyantha Diyawadana by extremist mobs in #Pakistan. My heart goes out to his wife and family. #SriLanka and her people are confident that PM @ImranKhanPTI will keep to his commitment to bring all those involved to justice,” the Sri Lankan PM tweeted.

Trial to be held in Anti-Terrorism Court

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has said that the tragic Sialkot factory incident has left every Pakistani in shock, adding that those responsible for the awful act do not deserve to be called human beings and the accused will not escape stern punishment.

The CM strongly condemned the ghastly killing of a Sri Lankan citizen and setting of his body on fire. He assured that justice would be served at any case as such people do not deserve any concession. 

The accused would be awarded strict punishment according to the law. He said that Islam discourages violence and extremism as it is a religion of peace and harmony. 

The chief minister extended heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family and Sri Lankan government and said that the Punjab government was standing with them in their time of trial. He also assured them that all the culprits will be brought to book. 

Usman Buzdar said that he is speechless over the brutal killing which has left the whole nation sad and ashamed. 

The government will fulfill all its responsibilities in this regard, said the CM adding prompt legal action is being taken against the responsible. The case trial will be held in Anti-Terrorism Court, he said and added Pakistan belongs to everyone who lives here, regardless of any religion, race and cast. 

Safeguarding the life and property of citizens is the responsibility of the state. Instructions have been issued to take effective measures to prevent such tragic incidents in future, the CM concluded.

 

 

Also, Special Assistant to Chief Minister (SACM) and Punjab government’s Spokesperson Hasaan Khawar confirmed on Saturday that 118 suspects including 13 main accused had been arrested during 200 police raids conducted so far.

Addressing a press conference along with Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Rao Sardar 

Ali Khan here at DGPR office, the spokesperson said the District Police Officer (DPO) Sialkot had constituted 10 raiding teams, while record of 160 CCTV cameras was being retrieved to trace and arrest more people involved in the heinous crime. 

The law enforcement agencies also checked Call Detail Record (CDR) and internet data of thousands of mobile phones that helped them substantially in arresting the perpetrators. However, the detailed analysis of video footage and forensic tests were underway, he mentioned. 

He said that a case had also been registered under sections of Pakistan Penal Code including 

7-ATA provisions on the police complaint. “I think the police have made commendable progress on this case during the last 24 hours,” he observed.

Hasaan Khawar said that the postmortem of Paryantha Kumara had been completed and his body would be handed over to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Pakistan by the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar were personally monitoring the process of police investigation into the killing of Sri Lankan national. The CM also ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident and the Punjab IGP was personally supervising the whole matter and senior police officers including RPO Gujranwala, DPO Sialkot were in the field and raids were being carried out to arrest the remaining accused. 

All the accused involved in the tragic incident would soon be arrested and brought them to justice, he assured. “I once again assure you that in this case, justice will not only be done but will also be seen to be done,” he asserted. The spokesperson said the IGP was also holding a departmental inquiry regarding any delay in police response and if laxity by any police official was proved, strict departmental action would be taken. 

Special Protection Unit 

Punjab IGP Rao Sardar Ali Khan also confirmed the above details of the investigation and the progress so far made into the Sialkot case.

He assured that police were examining thoroughly all aspects and factors of the incident so that real perpetrators of this barbarism could not escape the law, and ‘we will complete the investigation as early as possible so that trial of the culprits could be started in the Anti-Terrorism Court and they must be awarded exemplary punishment.’

To a question, the IGP explained that the Special Protection Unit (SPU) was for the security of foreign nationals in Pakistan and the unit mostly provides security cover to foreigners when they travel in Pakistan. “We have also asked the foreign nationals to inform the police when they travel in the country or in need of security so that they could be facilitated accordingly,” he said and clarified that SPU did not perform duties with them at their workplace or in a secure environment.

Fawad calls for swift action against religious fanaticism

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Saturday expressed deep sorrow and regret over the Sialkot incident, and said that narrow minded religious fanaticism was like a time bomb which needed to be defused before it was too late.

In a tweet he said: “What should I say about the Sialkot incident other than the fact that we as a nation must stand together and dismantle such ticking time-bombs before they detonate. The sands of time are slipping from our fingers, we must act and act now.”

 The minister said that such incidents sadden the society for a couple of days and then everyone forgot the incident till next tragedy. 

He said such type of apathy from the society could lead to bigger tragedies as many countries have witnessed bloodshed at the hands of such fanatics.