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With world opinion building against Sialkot lynching of Sri Lankan, Pakistan to hold debate in parliament

Prime Minister Imran Khan has been accused of mollycoddling radical elements (Photo: IANS)

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Tuesday that he would like to hold a debate on the Sialkot lynching case in the Parliament. About a fortnight back, Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara was beaten to death and his body burnt by factory workers.

The incident sent shock waves across the world for the brutality shown by fellow workers towards Kumara. The top Sri Lankan leadership also took up the matter with Imran Khan, who apologised for the incident and promised a thorough inquiry into the killing.

The sessions for the National Assembly and the Senate have been called on December 20 and December 22 respectively. Imran Khan’s Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs, Babar Awan said that on the advice of the Prime Minister, the MPs will debate the Sialkot lynching incident.

The incident which brought global shame to the country, happened when members of the radical Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) beat up Kumara, the manager of a garments factory in Sialkot, Punjab, for pulling down a poster with Quranic verses written on it. The mob alleged that Kumara had committed blasphemy and killed him in a barbaric manner.

Khan was criticised severely within the country as his party had reached an agreement with the TLP in an effort to pacify the Islamist party over its demand of expelling the French ambassador. This was the second time that the Imran Khan government had buckled under the pressure of violent protests from the TLP.

Experts allege that mollycoddling the TLP has resulted in a rise in cases of violence across Pakistan and the Sialkot lynching incident was the latest in numerous such examples. Other fundamentalist forces too are gaining strength in the country.

Sri Lanka has announced a compensation of Rs 2.5 million to Kumara's wife and two young children while Pakistan has promised benefits in a bid to calm down rising anti-Pakistan sentiment in Sri Lanka.