Saturday, December 04, 2021
Web Desk

Punjab sends initial Sialkot probe report to PM Imran Khan: sources

Police have arrested a total of 118 suspects so far for their alleged involvement in the lynching of a Sri Lankan factory manager

Web Desk

A screengrab of video footage showing employees vandalising the factory. — Geo News
A screengrab of video footage showing employees vandalising the factory. — Geo News

  • Police arrest 118 people allegedly involved in the attack.
  • Among 118 are 13 key suspects, police say.
  • Two suspects "confess" to lynching manager, sources say.

SIALKOT: The Punjab government has sent an initial investigation report of the Sialkot tragedy to Prime Minister Imran Khan, well-placed sources told Geo News on Saturday.

A day earlier, a Sri Lankan national, Priyantha Kumara, who had been working as a manager at a private factory on Wazirabad Road in Sialkot, was tortured to death and his body set on fire by a mob over allegations of "blasphemy".

As per the preliminary report, a dispute had emerged when Kumara removed some posters from the walls of the factory at 10:28am. The posters were reportedly inscribed with the name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Shortly after, the factory owner reached the spot and resolved the issue. Kumara had apologised for the misunderstanding on his part.

After Kumara made the apology, the matter was reportedly considered settled and the factory workers had dispersed.

However, some workers then incited their colleagues to attack the manager.

Within a few minutes, a mob formed and set on the victim within the premises of the industrial unit, eventually killing him.

A total of 13 security guards were present in the factory as the brutal attack was occurring. None of them tried to rescue the victim or disperse the mob, said the report.

Kumara’s body was later dragged outside the factory.

Police received a phone call at 11:28am about the incident, officials said. A police party reached the site within 12 minutes.

Heavy contingents of police were later dispatched to the crime scene to round up and arrest suspects.

13 'key suspects' arrested

Punjab Police, meanwhile, posted an update on Twitter saying they have arrested 13 "key suspects" involved in the attack with the help of other managers of the factory where the incident took place.

"The suspects have been shifted to an undisclosed place for further investigation," the police said.

Sources further told Geo News that two key suspects had "confessed" to their involvement in the torture and killing of the manager.

During initial questioning, the two suspects, identified as Farhan and Talha, "admitted" their role in the brutal attack on the foreign national, the sources said.

Briefing the media on the progress made so far, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Hasaan Khawar said at least 118 people, including the 13 "key suspects", have been arrested for the cold-blooded murder.

Khawar said the suspects were arrested with the help of 160 videos that yielded 12 hours of footage.

He said the provincial government has formed 10 teams to arrest all suspects involved in the murder.

The Sri Lankan manager had already died when police received the first telephone call regarding the incident, he said.

The Punjab government spokesperson said police and the civil administration will take the investigation to its "logical end".

He revealed that the Sri Lankan national had been living alone in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, the inspector general of police for Punjab said police negligence was not a factor in the brutal murder.

He said the district police officer (DPO) and a superintendent of police (SP) had to reach the crime scene on foot as roads were blocked in the area on that day.

'Day of shame'

Yesterday, PM Imran Khan, in a statement on Twitter, termed the event a "horrific vigilante attack", noting that the manager had been "burned alive".

"The horrific vigilante attack [at a] factory in Sialkot and the burning alive of the Sri Lankan manager is a day of shame for Pakistan," he said.

The premier had said he was overseeing the investigations and let it be known that "all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law".

"Arrests are in progress," he added.

'Cold-blooded murder'

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) issued a statement on behalf of Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa which termed the act a "cold-blooded murder".

"The cold-blooded murder of Sri Lankan [national], Mr Priyantha Kumara, by a mob in Sialkot is extremely condemnable and shameful," the statement had said.

"Such extrajudicial vigilantism cannot be condoned at any cost," it had added, informing that the military would extend "all out support" to the civilian administration in putting those responsible to task.