Brutal lynching – 13 Feb 2023

The lynching of Sri Lankan, Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana, and his likes across Pakistan, are a blot on our conscience

We are once again ashamed. Alas, we have not learnt any lessons from the guilt we had to face from the gruesome acts that were carried out by sections of our society in Sialkot and Khanewal under the guise of blasphemy. The lynching of Sri Lankan, Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana, and his likes elsewhere across Pakistan, are a blot on our conscience. To make the memories more horrible, the lynching in Nankana Sahib of a 35-year-old man accused of blasphemy is unacceptable, to say the least. What makes it more horrendous is the fact that a mob had the audacity to break into the police station, ransack its belongings, throw open the detained inmates and get away with the accused being brutally maimed, killed, and then his corpse dragged into the streets. This is barbaric and cowardice, too.

The question is where were the law-enforcement agencies, and why didn’t even a single citizen stand up to resist? Perhaps, there wasn’t any Adnan Malik of Khanewal in Nankana Sahib. Though some disciplinary action was prompt to come from the legal bureaucracy and the police high-ups by suspending the concerned officials, it is no consolation to the magnitude of crime that the heterogeneous district of Punjab had witnessed.

Now is the moment of action. Something serious needs to be done to do away with the gangrene of radicalism in our midst. The fact is that never has the law taken its course, and no effective retribution has come in real time. Similarly, it is a collective failure of the society as religious scholars have limited their discourse to lip-service, and have not been able to prevail over their subjects to educate them the true spirit of Islam, compassion and forgiveness. Last but not least, the finer-points in blasphemy law unfortunately act as a catalyst for the insane to resort to violence. Pakistanis, primarily, are law-abiding and egalitarian in essence. It is in the insetting of extremism precedents that are ruining society. This license to kill must come to an end.

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