120 rounded up over Sialkot lynching

PM assures Sri Lankan president culprits won’t go unpunished

KALEEM CHISHTI December 04, 2021
At least 800 people have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act on behalf of the Ugoki police station Photo: AFP


Police on Saturday said they had rounded up around 120 suspects over the lynching of Sri Lankan factory manager Priyantha Kumara Diyawadanage in Sialkot over blasphemy allegations a day earlier, while Pakistan assured the leadership of the island nation that the culprits behind the outrageous incident would be apprehended and prosecuted as per law.

At least 900 people have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act on behalf of the Ugoki police station SHO.

The autopsy report confirmed a fractured skull and brain protrusion of the victim. Around 99% of the body of the slain Sri Lankan manager was completely burnt. Diyawadanage died of brain damage. All the bones, including the victim's arms and hip, were broken with the exception of one foot.

The Gujranwala regional police officer (RPO) monitored the raids till late last night and the body of the victim was shifted to Lahore where it will be handed over to the high commission.

Addressing a news conference at the at DGPR office in Lahore, Special Assistant to the Punjab Chief Minister on Information Hasaan Khawar said during the past 24 hours, police had rounded up 118 suspects, including 13 primary ones, in 200 raids.

“A departmental inquiry is also being held to see what time police took to reach the scene after receiving the first call,” he added.

“Strict action would be taken in case of any delay or negligence.”

Read more: 'Day of shame': PM vows to punish culprits of Sialkot lynching

Khawar said the body would be handed over to the Sri Lankan embassy through the interior and foreign ministries.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab IGP Rao Sardar Ali Khan said a challan would be submitted to an anti-terrorism court as soon as possible to bring the culprits to justice.

He explained that over 12 hours long footage of 160 CCTV cameras and mobile data analyses of the people present on the spot had been examined in connection with the case.

The IG added that the police had received the first call at 11:28am and then at 11:45am.

“The SHO of Ugoki police station along with his team reached the scene. By the time they reached there, a Sri Lankan citizen had been murdered,” he added.

On late Friday night, the IG had confirmed the arrest of Farhan Idrees and Usman Rasheed, the two main suspects.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the telephone and assured him of justice in the tragic incident

The premier tweeted that he had 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”.

Similarly, Foreign Minister Qureshi telephoned his Sri Lankan counterpart Gamini Lakshman Peiris and said that the incident in Sialkot should be condemned. He added that the leadership of Pakistan would ensure that all the accused involved in the incident be brought to justice.

At a press conference in Islamabad earlier, Qureshi was asked about the killing of the factory manager in Sialkot. The foreign minister termed the incident as “unfortunate and shameful” and said the notice was taken at the highest level and the prime minister was personally overseeing the investigation.

“The government has given a 48 hours deadline for the investigation into the real factors behind the incident,” he told reporters. "We are in contact with Sri Lanka and updating the high commissioner on the issue. They have lauded Pakistan's prompt reaction as such incident had hurt everyone," he added.

Also read: Sri Lankan citizen lynched in Sialkot over alleged blasphemy

The foreign minister said he would also speak with his Sri Lankan counterpart later in the day to apprise him of the situation and expressed the hope that the incident would not impact the bilateral ties, because the Pakistani nation and the government had nothing to do with it.

The Sri Lankan media reported on Saturday that Colombo had demanded stern action from Pakistan over the brutal killing of its citizen, adding that the country’s high commission in Islamabad was in the process of verifying the details of the incident from the Pakistani authorities.

A senior Pakistan official told a foreign news agency on Saturday that the foreign ministry officials had been in touch with Sri Lankan diplomats over the incident “and have assured them that all those involved in the heinous crime will be brought to justice”.

(With input from our correspondent in Lahore and agencies)








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