Pakistan’s Sialkot factory hires another Sri Lankan national in place of his lynched compatriot

Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana

In a bold move, a factory in Pakistan’s Sialkot has hired another Sri Lankan national in place of his slain compatriot who was lynched earlier this month by supporters of a radical Islamist party on the allegations of blasphemy.

Special Representative to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Ashrafi disclosed this on Wednesday during a visit to the Sri Lankan High Commission along with Islamic preacher Maulana Tariq Jamil to express condolence over the Sialkot incident.

Supporters of the radical Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) lynched the factory’s general manager, Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana (49) before setting his body on fire over allegations of blasphemy earlier this month in Sialkot.

Talking to the media after meeting Sri Lankan High Commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama, Ashrafi said that the educational expenses of Kumara’s children would be borne by the factory owner.

“The administration has also given a job to a Sri Lankan citizen in the factory,” he added. “We are thankful to the Sri Lankans that in this atmosphere of fear, one of them chose to work here.” He, however, didn’t provide the name or other details about the new manager of the factory in Sialkot, which is famous for sports goods. Maulana Tariq Jamil termed the killing of Kumara as an act of “cruelty” for which the entire country was ashamed.

“I told the High Commissioner that we are here to say sorry,” the cleric said. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner thanked both clerics for visiting. Kumara’s lynching has been widely condemned in Pakistan’s religious circles. Clerics from all schools of thought visited the High Commission of Sri Lankan on December 7 and unanimously condemned the killing and announced that it was “un-Islamic”.