Pakistan's Defence Minister Pervez Khattak is facing a backlash after he claimed “murders take place” when young people get emotional following the lynching of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Pakistan by a mob last week.
The mob reportedly accused the Sri Lankan of blasphemy for tearing down a poster with Islamic holy verses.
In an interview in Peshawar on Sunday, Khattak told reporters that the lynching shouldn't be linked to the government's decision to lift the ban on the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) after being asked whether the government was considering an “effective crackdown” against such groups. But Khattak hit back at question and challenged the reporters instead.
“You know the reasons [behind this incident] too," the minister claimed. "When children … grow up, they become spirited and do things out of emotions. This does not mean 'this was the result of that action'".
He went on to claim that boys entering adulthood are "ready to do anything".
"So this happens among kids, fights take place and even murders. [Does] this mean it is the government's fault?"
Other members of Pakistani Government took to Twitter and the press to condemn the incident and assure the Sri Lankan government it would investigate the murder.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said he would personally oversee the investigation into "the horrific vigilante attack," and called it “a day of shame for Pakistan” adding, “all those responsible will be punished with full severity of the law.”
Pakistan, a long-time ally of Sri Lanka, has consistently provided military, diplomatic and financial support despite the on-going discrimination faced by Muslims in Sri Lanka.
In February, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, visited Sri Lanka but failed to heed calls from human rights organisations to address the ongoing abuses against Muslims, including its internationally condemned policy of forced cremations.
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