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Monday, May 23, 2022
EditorialJustice with Priyantha Kumara

Justice with Priyantha Kumara

Thankfully, an anti-terrorism court has delivered its verdict on the much-awaited case of the lynching of Sri Lankan manager Priyantha Kumara within months. The deceased was lynched by a factory mob in December 2021. Thankfully, the killers have been brought to justice. The anti-terrorism court sentenced six of the prime suspects to death and handed life imprisonment to nine, while 70 other accused who were part of the mob were given two years of jail time, one was handed a sentence of five years while one was acquitted. The Sri Lankan national who had been working in Pakistan for the past 11 years was lynched by a mob of hundreds. He was accused of blasphemy and subsequently tortured to death. Later, the mob also burnt his body. That is barbaric.

This case shook Pakistan and the world. The mob who lynched that man to death was full of normal-looking people one can find anywhere. To think that one wrong move, especially where religion is involved, can result in such violence makes one realize how unsafe this country is. To have an opinion different from the masses can result in one’s death, a brutal death, in such a barbaric way instils fear in one’s mind. Dissent is always looked down upon in our part of the world, however, in a civilized world, those who have different beliefs are not lynched to death and burnt. Such incidents are a failure of the Pakistani society that has not evolved even one bit.

This is not the first case of lynching; it was just another one of many cases of lynching and mob violence that have taken place in Pakistan. Although the perpetrators have been handed death sentences and life imprisonment, society will not heal and become better unless the grassroots reforms are brought about.

The family of Priyantha Kumara and many others who lost their lives in such gruesome scenarios will never be able to heal from such a loss. Although the courts have worked properly and given appropriate sentences, society must not feel as if this will lead to any form of deterrence. People will continue to be abusive until real change is brought about in society. In the past, many judges have been killed or threatened with consequences, who dared to touch such cases. In this case, the judge must be appreciated for showing courage to deliver the verdict well in time. But the question is: will this verdict bring about a change? To see this real change the narrative will have to be changed from a religious one to a secular one. The politics of the far-right will have to be forgone. Governments and the state will have to stop appeasing religious fundamentalists who believe that anyone who has a differing opinion is a kafir and must be killed in the name of a religion that does not condone violence in any shape or form.

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