Priyantha’s murder un-Islamic: Ulema


ISLAMABAD: The Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council and SAPM on Religious Harmony and Middle East, Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, along with Ulema and Mashaykh of different religious schools of thought visited the Sri Lankan High Commission here on Tuesday to deplore and express condolence on the tragic killing of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in the Sialkot incident. They declared the incident as a clear violation of Pakistani laws, including the Quran and Sunnah, the Constitution and democracy.

“The Ulema of different religious schools of thought have announced unanimously to observe ‘Condemnation Day’ on Friday, 10th December, 2021 all over the country against the tragic incident of Sialkot,” said Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council and SAPM Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, while talking to the media here on Tuesday along with the leadership of different religious schools of thought. Besides SAPM Ashrafi, the delegation comprised Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Dr. Qibla Ayaz and Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Abdul Khabeer Azad and other Ulema. The delegation was led by Wifaqul Madaris Al-Arabia President Mufti Taqi Usmani.

Ashrafi said a ‘Condemnation Day’ would be observed across the country on Friday against the tragic incident of Sialkot. Also during the Friday congregations, religious scholars will educate the public on Blasphemy Laws and ask them to abide by the law of the land. The Ulema’s visit to the Sri Lankan High Commission is a clear message to extremists and terrorist elements that no violation of the law is acceptable, he said. “We will not allow anyone to use religion for their personal gain,” he said, adding the premier had made it clear that “hooliganism” in the name of religion will not be tolerated anymore. “No one will be allowed to torch someone to death or burn houses […] for how long will people from the Christian community go to jails?” the special representative asked.

Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Dr Qibla Ayaz said the Sialkot tragedy has caused global outrage, also in Pakistan. “This incident is starkly against the teachings of the Holy Quran, the Constitution and laws of Pakistan and the reprehensible act has brought shame to the people of Pakistan.” He said the strictest-possible legal action must be taken against the miscreants. 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 support the decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to award Tamgha-i-Shujaat to Malik Adnan, who had tried to shield Kumara from the violent mob.

Speaking on the occasion, President Wifaqul Madaris Al-Arabia, Mufti Taqi Usmani, said the delegation conveyed its heartfelt sorrow over the barbaric incident to the Sri Lankan high commissioner, the victim’s family and people of Sri Lanka. Mufti Usmani said, “The incident has shaken the entire nation to its core. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are friendly countries and this tragic incident is a shared grief.” Mufti Usmani demanded due punishment to the culprits involved in this heinous act of barbarism. He also expressed the hope that the Government of Pakistan would compensate the victim’s family “even though there can be no real compensation [for the loss of a life].”

Former federal minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi said that we are saddened by this tragedy and the religious scholars will play their role in bringing the culprits to justice. Senator Professor Sajid Mir said no amount of condemnation of the Sialkot incident was enough. “We are with Priyantha’s family and express our solidarity with the friendly country of Sri Lanka.” Hanif Jalandhari termed the incident as highly reprehensible. Allama Arif Wahidi, Shia Ulema Council of Pakistan, said that we are representing the whole nation here and we condemn this extremism. “This is an enmity with Pakistan and Islam.” Others in the delegation included Allama Ameen Shaheedi, Sahibzada Hamid Raza etc. On the occasion, a joint statement issued by the religious scholar called the Sialkot incident a “violation of the Constitution of Pakistan and Islamic laws, which caused great humiliation to the country”.

Speaking on the occasion, Sri Lankan High Commissioner Wijewickrama said it was tragic to see the brutal attack on Priyantha Diyawadana by an extremist mob and termed it a very sad and tragic incident. “We appreciate the sympathy of the people of Pakistan and such incidents should not happen anywhere in the world, including Pakistan,” he said.

The high commissioner said he was satisfied with the measures taken by the Government of Pakistan in dealing with the issue for taking stringent action against the culprits. He said that already a number of culprits had been rounded up and were behind the bars. The high commissioner said Pakistan and Sri Lanka were both friendly countries and this incident will not affect the relations between the two friendly countries. “The relationship between the two countries dates back to the independence of Sri Lanka and Pakistan,” he said and thanked the delegation for expressing condolence with the people of Sri Lanka and the victim’s family.

Earlier, the Ulema delegation laid flowers at the memorial, adorned with portrait of the deceased Sri Lankan manager.

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