More than 100 people have been arrested in Pakistan after a Sri Lankan factory manager was lynched and set on fire by a mob accusing him of blasphemy, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday.
Choksi’s attack caused outrage, with Khan calling it “a day of shame for Pakistan” and later saying that he had spoken to the Sri Lankan president about the assassination.
Khan wrote on Twitter: “Spoke to the President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the UAE today to apprise the people of Sri Lanka of our country’s anger and shame over the vigilante killing of Priyantha Diyawadana in Sialkot.”
He said more than 100 people have been arrested and they will be “prosecuted with the utmost seriousness of the law”.
The incident took place on Friday in Sialkot, a district in central Punjab province, about 200 km southeast of capital Islamabad.
Local police officials told AFP that rumors spread that Diyawadana had “torn a religious poster and threw it in the dustbin” and that 120 people, including the main accused, had been arrested.
Tahir Ashrafi, a religious scholar and the prime minister’s special representative on religious harmony, confirmed the arrest and told AFP that activists had complained of the manager being “too strict”.
According to Inspector General of Police (Punjab) Rao Sardar Ali Khan, “The police have so far arrested 118 suspects, including 13 prime suspects.” under terrorism charges.
Punjab government spokesman Hasan Kharwar told reporters on Saturday that the post-mortem has been conducted and the body will be handed over to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Islamabad.