Condemning mob lynching of Sri Lankan national, constitutional body calls for ‘exemplary’ punishment for all culprits
The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Monday stressed upon the need to enact and implement effective legislation to prevent any future incidents like the mob lynching of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot earlier this month.
In a special meeting called to debate the Sialkot incident in which a mob tortured Priyantha Kumara to death over blasphemy allegations and then set his body on fire, the constitutional body said the country’s judicial system needed to be reformed. “Legislation is needed to prevent such incidents. Those responsible for the Sialkot tragedy should be punished,” CII Chairman Qibla Ayaz told media after the meeting, adding that CII had sought to determine and understand the causes behind the tragedy.
“But we all understand that despite all shortcomings in the system it’s the responsibility of the state, as well as the citizens, to end the rising incidence of violence,” he added. The CII session stressed that taking the law into one’s own hands was against Quran and Sunnah, Sharia and the Constitution. It said anyone who took the law into their own hands should face immediate penalties from the state.
Allama Tahir Ashrafi, a member of the CII and the Special Assistant to the P.M. on Interfaith Harmony, said the state was clear that no other incidents like that in Sialkot would be tolerated. “But at the same time we all need to understand that it will take time to get rid of the disease that has taken 40 years to mature,” he said.
A joint declaration issued by the CII after the meeting called for exemplary punishment for all those found guilty of a role in the Sialkot mob lynching. It also decided to continue a consultation process with experts to eradicate extremism from the country.
The declaration stressed that the CII had already found that ensuring punishment for culprits under existing laws was more important than formulating new laws. It alleged that unrest was growing in the country due to the dissemination of anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan content on social media. The council said it was working with government agencies to form a coordinated strategy against this.
The CII also called for Parliament to table and approve the Paigham-e-Pakistan declaration that was unanimously approved by all religious schools and madrassas boards of the country in 2017. It termed terrorism, suicide attacks and killing anyone haram in Islam.
The forum praised the government’s handling of the situation after the Sialkot incident to satisfy and ensure justice for the government and people of Sri Lanka. It also welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to award a Certificate of Merit and Medal of Courage to Malik Adnan, Kumara’s colleague who tried to save him from the mob.
“We also appreciate the views expressed by the Jamiat Ulema Sri Lanka over the tragedy,” the CII chairman added.