Religious scholars vow to bring Sialkot culprits to justice Ulema to observe Friday as ‘day of condemnation’

Staff Reporter

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 Mohan Vijay Vikrama in Islamabad.

A delegation of religious scholars from all sects, led by Wifaqul Madaris Al-Arabia President Mufti Taqi Usmani, had earlier 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 Qibla Ayaz said action will be taken on the incident in line with the laws of Pakistan.

Former senator and religious scholar 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.

“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 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 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.

Former federal minister for religious affairs, Hamid Saeed Kazmi, lamented that the incident had ashamed the whole nation and urged .

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