Colombo, Dec 8 (IANS) Buddhist leaders who conducted the final rites of Priyantha Kumara Diyabalana, a Sri Lankan factory manager who was lynched by a mob in Pakistan’s Sialkot recently, said on Wednesday that the incident is a black mark on Pakistan and its leaders must learn a strong lesson from it.
Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka, the Buddhist prelate who conducted the religious rites on Wednesday evening, said that the entire world condemned the heinous crime.
“The leaders of Pakistan must take stern action to guide their people on the right direction,” the monk urged.
“Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has already admitted that the gruesome murder is a black mark on his country,” he said, while demanding that Sri Lankan leaders should ensure protection of their people when they go to work in other countries.
The final rites of Priyantha Kumara (48), a father of two, was conducted at his home town in Ganemulla, around 30 km from Colombo.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaksa and heads of different religious bodies, including Buddhists and Christians, had sent condolence messages to be read at the final rites.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara has demanded a public apology from Pakistan Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who reportedly made an insensitive remark defending the murder of Kumara, saying that “murders take place when young people get emotional”.
Weerasekara, who retired as a Rear Admiral, said, “If Pakistan’s Defence Minister has said something to that effect, he must immediately withdraw his statement and make an apology to Sri Lankan people.”
Khattak also allegedly said that the murder should not be linked to the government’s decision to lift the ban on the hardline Islamist outfit, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
On Wednesday, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), representing over 21,000 lawyers and judges, urged the Pakistan government and its law enforcement agencies “to ensure an impartial and thorough” investigation into the murder of Kumara.
Writing to Imran Khan, the BASL demanded that toughest action should be taken against those responsible for the heinous crime and to ensure the rights of the aggrieved party.
The international community too condemned the murder of Kumara on December 3, while global rights body Amnesty International stressed that it was deeply alarmed by the incident and demanded Pakistan to “conduct an independent, impartial and prompt investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable”.
Responding to the murder, Imran Khan had called it a “horrific vigilante attack” describing it as a “day of shame” for Pakistan.
The police in Pakistan have said that over 120 suspects, including the most-wanted suspect Imtiaz alias Billi, have been arrested.