Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat has revealed that out of the 182 people taken into custody following the lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara over blasphemy allegations, 120 were still being interrogated by the police whereas 62 others had been released due to lack of evidence against them.
Kumara, who worked as the quality manager at a sports goods factory in Sialkot, was on December 3 killed by a mob after he was accused of committing blasphemy. The incident had resulted in widespread outrage, prompting the government to take strict action against those responsible for the Sri Lankan national’s killing.
The gruesome incident was dubbed by Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan as “a day of shame for Pakistan” and condemned by senior government functionaries, including the president, and top military leadership, who vowed to bring all those involved to the book.
Taking assembly members into confidence over recent developments as the probe into Kumara’s killing continues, Basharat on Thursday further said that of the 120 suspects under the police’s custody, 18 were on physical remand.
“Police have confirmed the involvement of 52 suspects and a case has been registered against them,” he said, calling for strict punishment for the culprits.
He assured members of the provincial house that the case challan would be submitted within 30 days, and urged provincial lawmakers to come up with responsible suggestions over the “very sensitive issue”.
Basharat further said that the prime minister held a debate over this issue in Senate as well as in the National Assembly and condemned this incident vehemently.
He lauded the role of the Punjab police in this regard and said that prompt action was taken by the police and culprits were arrested immediately.
“The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and other bodies are also working on this issue and their recommendations would be made part of the law.”
Basharat also assured the assembly that the government would take measures to prevent the occurrence of such untoward incidents in the future.
LIVE WITH SAIF: ‘NO JUSTICE FOR PRIYANTHA KUMARA’