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President Gotabaya, PM Mahinda condemn lynching incident in Pakistan


A violent mob lynched a Sri Lankan national and burnt him alive over alleged blasphemy

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.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Twitter: “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.

In a tweet on Friday on what he called a “horrific vigilante attack”, PM Khan said it was a “day of shame” for Pakistan. Those responsible would be punished with “the full severity of the law”, he said.

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.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Civil Society Alliance in Sri Lanka, a group of civil society organisations and activists, condemned “the horrific killing”. “The Muslim Civil Society Alliance is shocked and condemns the cold-blooded murder of fellow Sri Lankan brother Mr. Priyantha Diyawadana by a rabid mob, accusing him of blasphemy,” the Alliance said in a statement, adding: “This is an extremely shameful and barbaric crime and should not be tolerated. Extra judicial vigilantism cannot be condoned at any cost by anyone, no matter which religion, ethnicity or nationality they belong to.”

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