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Pakistan PM calls mob killing ‘day of shame’ for the country

<i>Shahid Akram/AP</i><br/>Police officers stand guard at the scene where a Sri Lankan national was lynched by mob outside a factory in Sialkot
Shahid Akram/AP
Police officers stand guard at the scene where a Sri Lankan national was lynched by mob outside a factory in Sialkot

By Sophia Saifi and Azaz Syed, CNN

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a violent mob killing of a Sri Lankan national on Friday “a day of shame for Pakistan.”

Khan’s comments come after a Sri Lankan national working in Pakistan’s Punjab province was killed and later burnt by a mob after being accused of committing blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, according to Osama Mehmood, the spokesperson of Punjab’s police force.

The incident took place in the Punjabi city of Sialkot on Friday.

Khan called the incident a “horrific vigilante attack” and said he was overseeing the investigations.

“Let there be no mistake, those responsible will be punished with [the] full severity of the law. Arrests are in progress,” Khan said on Twitter on Friday.

The man who was murdered was a Buddhist factory manager named Prantha Kumar, according to Khurram Shehzad, a spokesperson for Sialkot police.

Kumar’s body has since been recovered from the mob and brought to a local hospital, Shehzad said.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the incident and said: “The savagery with which a Sialkot mob has tortured a Sri Lankan man to death on flimsy allegations of blasphemy should bring home the grim reality of spiralling radicalisation in Pakistan.”

Punjab’s chief minister Usman Buzdar said in a tweet that the inspector general of police has been tasked to investigate the incident.

Pakistan is often hit by vigilante violence against people accused of blasphemy. This summer, a mob broke into a police station on the outskirts of the capital, Islamabad, in a bid to lynch two men accused of desecrating a mosque.

CNN has reached out to the Sri Lankan Embassy for comment.

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