Govt to review counter-terrorism strategy after Sialkot incident: Mazari

Human rights minister stresses that ‘strict government action’ is the ‘need of the hour’


Our Correspondent December 07, 2021
The minister urges international community to step forward and help avert the evolving humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Photo: Anadolu Agency

ISLAMABAD:

Amid the nationwide outrage over the brutal Sialkot mob lynching spurred by blasphemy allegations, the government has decided to review the National Action Plan (NAP) on counter-terrorism, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said on Monday.

On Friday, the Sri Lankan citizen, Priyantha Diyawadanage, employed as an exports manager at a factory in Sialkot was brutally murdered by a mob that accused him of committing blasphemy. He was tortured by the mob to death and his body was set on fire.

The incident drew vehement condemnations from all sections of society, with many, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, expressing serious concerns and calling for justice.

Speaking exclusively to a local daily, the rights minister said it was deplorable that such incidents were taking place frequently and said a "strict government action" was the "need of the hour".

Read: Govt to implement strategy to curb mob attacks

She stressed that the laws needed to be reviewed so that a comprehensive strategy could be devised as a preventive measure to address the problem, pointing out there was a need to find out the loopholes in the implementation of the NAP.

"This lynching was not the first of its kind. We have seen the case of Mashal Khan, and two of our Christian community members were burnt... it's now time to take definitive action as the state".

Expressing concerns over the growing “extremism”, the minister said the practice of distorting religion in order to torture people merited the strongest possible condemnation.

Referring to the controversial remarks made by Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the wake of the shocking incident of Sri Lankan national’s lynching, Ms Mazari urged PDM parties to disassociate themselves from Fazl.

The JUI-F chief had come under fire for saying that while the incident was reprehensible and shameful, such incidents would continue if the state doesn't take action against blasphemers.

However, speaking about the comments made by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, the human rights minister said the minister had already clarified the misunderstanding on Twitter.

“His remarks were reported out of context in sections of the media. It remains unclear which tweet the minister was referring to with regards to the clarification,” she added.

In response to a question whether the government was mulling to place ban on the TLP after the Sialkot incident, she said the federal cabinet would debate on it before reaching any final decision.

Read More: PM Imran hosts Sialkot tragedy hero in Islamabad

It may be mentioned here that in September this year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had reviewed progress made so far on the revised National Action Plan (NAP), particularly taking into account the latest situation in neighbouring Afghanistan and its possible effects on the country.

The premier chaired a meeting of the apex committee of NAP that reviewed short-, medium- and long-term targets of the revised action plan and deliberated on the role and responsibilities of all stakeholders, including the federation, provinces and law enforcement agencies.

It was decided to fast track the implementation of various measures to meet emergent challenges including cyber security, espionage, judicial and civil reforms, capacity building of law enforcement agencies, violent extremism and other issues having a direct bearing on national security.

COMMENTS (1)

Saad Malik | 1 month ago | Reply

The strategy needed is to hang people....no other decision needed.

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