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pakistan: Pak lynching: Govt to review counter-terrorism strategy, says minister | India News – Times of India


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s human rights minister said on Monday that the government has decided to review the country’s National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism in the wake of the lynching of a Sri Lankan national over blasphemy allegations.
The implementation of a 20-point NAP, aimed at rooting out Islamist terrorism and religious extremism, was agreed between Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders after the 2014 attack on a school in Peshawar that had left around 150 people dead, 132 of them school kids. While some of its provisions, like action against terrorism and formation of military courts, were implemented, most of the measures that were agreed upon to stem terrorism and extremism were completely ignored. Whenever any violent incident of Islamic extremism occurs in Pakistan, the government vows to implement NAP in letter and spirit.
The lynching of a Sri Lankan resident by an angry mob has prompted Pakistani authorities again to call for “strict government action (implementation of NAP)”, terming it the “need of the hour”.
“This lynching was not the first of its kind. We have seen the case of Mashal Khan (a university student lynched by fellow students on the campus in Mardan in the northwest), and two of our Christian community members (lynched in Sialkot) were burnt…. it’s now time to take definitive action as the state,” Pakistan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari told local media.
She said the distortion of religion and torture of people in its wake should be condemned in the strongest terms.
The minister also expressed worry over growing “extremism” in the country, saying that NAP has to be fully enforced to combat the menace.
Priyantha Kumara, 48, was working as a manager at a Pakistani textile factory in Sialkot. Hundreds of violent protesters, including employees of the factory where the slain foreigner was a manager, had tortured him to death on Friday and later burnt his body. His remains were sent to Colombo from Lahore airport on Monday.
The inhuman incident came days after the government had lifted a ban on a far-right religious party, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), known for its protests in opposition to any change to Pakistan’s blasphemy law since its formation in 2015.
The party was formed after taking a firm stand to defend the killer of Salman Taseer, Punjab’s former governor. Taseer was gunned down by his own bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri for speaking in support of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had spent a decade in prison over blasphemy charges.
The TLP, however, has distanced, itself from Kumara’s killing, but its supporters and followers strongly defend his killers on social media forums.
An FIR was registered against 900 workers of Rajco Industries on the application of a senior official of a local police station.
Armaghan Maqt, the applicant, stated in the FIR that the protesters had slapped, kicked, punched and hit Kumara with sticks in his presence, and dragged him out of the factory on Wazirabad Road in Sialkot where he died. They then set the body on fire. The SHO said he was helpless in front of the mob owing to shortage of police personnel.
Over the past three days, the police have arrested dozens of suspects. According to police, out of the 131 people arrested, 26 had played a “central role” in the brutal killing.

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