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Government to Implement Strategy to Counter Mob Violence

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Meeting of civil and military decides to ensure strict punishment for any individuals or groups that seek to take law into their own hands

Pakistan’s civil and military leaders on Monday emphasized that incidents in which mobs or individuals take the law into their own hands cannot be tolerated and decided to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to ensure strict punishments for all perpetrators of such crimes.

“Individuals and mobs cannot be allowed to take the law into their hands and such incidents cannot be tolerated,” read a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office after a meeting convened to review the overall security situation in the country. Chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the meeting was also attended by Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf, Punjab Chief Minister Qamar Javed Bajwa and senior military and civil leaders.

The participants of the meeting took note of the horrific lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Diyawadanage in Sialkot last week, expressing serious concern over such cruelty and vowing to ensure the perpetrators were brought to justice. Diyawadanage, employed as a factory manager by Rajco Industries for the past 10 years, was accused of blasphemy on Friday. An enraged mob of hundreds tortured him to death and set his body on fire, provoking nationwide outrage and calls for no leniency to the perpetrators.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Monday’s meeting decided to implement a comprehensive strategy to curb any such incidents of vigilantism, adding that strict punishments would be ensured for all perpetrators. “The meeting also praised the bravery and courage of Malik Adnan, who endangered his own life to save Priyantha Diyawadanage,” it said, adding that “deepest condolences” had also been conveyed to the family of the victim.

Adnan, a colleague of Diyawadanage, had tried to shield him with his own body, even begging the mob to forgive the victim before he had forced to step aside after the mob turned its ire on him. The government has already announced that it would confer the Tamgha-e-Shujaat on him for his efforts.

Separately, the NSA also briefed the Parliamentary Committee on National Security—in a meeting boycotted by the opposition—and provided details on the national security policy being prepared by the National Security Division. According to a statement, Yusuf said the new policy would focus on the “symbiotic relationship” between human, economic and military security.

He said the policy was expected to be open to amendments, stressing that it should be reviewed annually and with the transition of every government to ensure it kept abreast with the changing global environment.

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