'Boys do things in passion': Pak minister on lynching

Pakistan Defence Minister Pervez Khattak defends lynching of Sri Lankan, says 'boys do things in passion'

He went on to say that 'even I can do wrong over religion' claiming it was the media's duty to explain events and not blame the government

A mob stormed a garment factory, lynched the general manager and set his body afire. Credit: Reuters Photo

Pakistan's Defence Minister Pervez Khattak justified the murder of a Sri Lankan national by a violent mob in Sialkot last Friday, saying it was the work of "angry, charged youngsters who were swept away by religious emotions".

"Even I can get excited and do wrong when it comes to religion," Khattak told media persons, claiming that it was wrong to blame the government. "Instead of blaming the government, it is the responsibility of the media to explain these to the people."

Khattak said that "boys do such things in passion."

The comments came in the backdrop of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan assuring the world that perpetrators will be punished.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had conveyed to the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Sunday that the brutal act was "our nation's anger and shame". He had assured Rajapaksa "that justice will be served".

"Spoke to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today in UAE to convey our nation's anger and shame to people of Sri Lanka at the vigilante killing of Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot," Khan had tweeted.

Also Read — Body of Sri Lankan national lynched by mob in Pakistan flown to Colombo

However, Prime Minister Khan's use of words that the murder was an "extrajudicial" act by a "vigilante" group has not gone down well among a section of the Pakistani intelligentsia.

Political watchers said they were dismayed at the events and that the defence minister must face action for his comments.

"If Pervez Khattak is not immediately removed from the cabinet, it will mean that PM Khan kept telling lies on the Sialkot tragedy, which was conveyed even to the president and foreign minister of Sri Lanka," said Hamid Ur Rehman, a Pakistani journalist.

On Friday, supporters of hard-line Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) attacked a garment factory of Rajco Industries, lynched the general manager, Priyantha Diyawadana, and set his body afire.

Many from the mob clicked photos and recorded videos of the incident, with a few even describing the events to news channels. In a few video clips, police personnel were also seen standing at the scene without trying to take any action.

An autopsy report stated that all of Diyawadana's bones were broken and 99% of his body was burnt. All the bones, including the victim's arms and hip, were broken with the exception of one foot, according to Samaa News.

Pakistan is the largest recipient of eye donations from Sri Lanka, having received at least 35,000 corneas since 1967.

Dr Niaz Brohi, a leading ophthalmologist of Pakistan told Samaa News, "Sri Lankans donated us 35,000 eyes, but we lost sight."

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