A delegation led by Mufti Taqi Usmani, met the Sri Lankan High Commissioner "The incident has shaken the entire nation to its core," Mufti Taqi Usmani

Religious scholars of Pakistan vow to ensure that all culprits involved in lynching of Sri Lankan citizen would be brought to justice

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

Some of Pakistan’s most senior religious scholars (Ulema) on Tuesday vowed to ensure that all culprits involved in the lynching of Sri Lankan citizen Diyawadanage Don Nandasri Priyantha would be brought to justice.

The promise was made as the ulema addressed a press conference flanked by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Vice Admiral Mohan Vijayvikrama in Islamabad.

A delegation of religious scholars from all sects, led by Wifaqul Madaris Al-Arabia President Mufti Taqi Usmani, met the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to offer their condolences over the gruesome murder of Priyantha in Sialkot on Friday.

The scholars said their visit was to express grief over the unfortunate incident and assure the Sri Lankan government’s representative that the issue would be dealt with justly.

“The incident has shaken the entire nation to its core,” Mufti Taqi Usmani said in his address. He expressed solidarity with the Sri Lankan people on behalf of the religious scholars of Pakistan, saying that they [the ulema] equally share the other side’s grief.

Mufti Usmani said Priyantha’s family would also be compensated for their loss, “Even though there can be no real compensation [for the loss of a life].”

The delegation also requested Mohan to convey their heartfelt condolences to the people and government of Sri Lanka. He also thanked Mohan for giving them a chance to meet him.

Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr. Qibla Ayaz said action will be taken on the incident in line with the laws of Pakistan.

Senator and religious scholar Allama Sajid Mir said that no amount of condemnation of the Sialkot incident is enough.  “We are with Priyantha’s family,” he added.

Sahibzada Hamid Raza said the religious scholars of Pakistan will play their role in bringing the culprits to justice. The Sri Lankan high commissioner, offering his remarks, said: “All of us strongly condemn the incident.” “Not only should such incidents not occur in Pakistan, but in the entire world as well,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Interfaith Harmony Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi assured that Pakistan will take all possible steps to hold the culprits accountable.

A joint statement issued by the religious scholars of Pakistan on the occasion called the Sialkot incident a “violation of the Constitution of Pakistan and Islamic laws, which caused great humiliation to the country”.

“It was an inhumane act, and to accuse someone of blasphemy without proof is not in accordance with the Shariah,” said Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Dr. Qibla Ayaz as he read out a joint statement from ulema following their meeting with Sri Lankan High Commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Islamabad.

He said all scholars from a variety of sects had gathered to express condolence and solidarity on the horrific incident. “This tragedy caused anger worldwide as the mob brutally killed a man and later burned his body.”

Dr. Qibla Ayaz termed the incident against the teaching of the Holy Quran, the Constitution as well as the laws of Pakistan, adding that “the act of some people brought shame to the people of Pakistan.” “The strictest possible legal action must be taken against these miscreants,” he said.

He said there was no place for extremism and violence in Islam, and urged scholars to play their due role in uprooting the menace.

Dr.Qibla Ayaz said ulema fully supported the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to award Tamgha-i-Shujaat (Medal of Bravery) to Malik Adnan — the man who had tried to shield Kumara from the violent mob, but in vain.

The delegation whichmet with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner include Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Allama Taqi Usmani, Allama Arif Wahidi, Qari Hanif Jalandhari, Allama Amin Shahidi, Abdul Khabir Azad, Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair, Allama Hamid Saeed Kazmi and Senator Allama Sajid Mir.

Sri Lankan High Commissioner Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama on the occasion said the unfortunate incident in Sialkot will not hamper Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations.

The High Commissioner said this incident was horrific but swift action by the government and response from the religious scholars is satisfying. The High Commissioner said Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been friends since 1948 and Pakistan has always assisted Sri Lanka to resolve different issues.

He asked the government to provide an adequate compensation to the family of Priyantha Kumara.

“At the same time, I have seen that in the last three days people in Pakistan from all areas are condemning it (Kumara’s lynching), and they all say that ‘this is not Pakistan’ and we believe it.”

He acknowledged that Pakistan and Sri Lanka had both assisted each other on a number of occasions, adding that “this particular incident in Sialkot will not have any impact on the relations between the two countries.”

The high commissioner also said that Kumara’s family should be provided “adequate compensation”.