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Sialkot lynching: Pakistan is becoming another Afghanistan

6/12/2021 at 6:21 PM

By Arun Joshi

 The lynching of a Sri Lankan national in Sialkot in Pakistan last week has all the portents of vitiating the atmosphere in the region, and the primary responsibility lies with the Pakistan government to assure the world and the neighbouring countries that it maintains rule of law by bringing the culprits to justice.

Last Friday – December 3,  a mob lynched factory manager of a sports company and then burnt his corpse in a macabre fashion, parallels of which are nowhere to be seen and heard of, anywhere in the civilized world. This should have awakened the whole nation of Pakistan to the dangerous times it is living in, and worse still the threat it poses to the neighbouring countries. The radicalism doesn’t stay in borders, it travels to all the vulnerable minds, particularly when such barbaric acts find justification in the name of religion.

There were voices , including that of Pakistan Prime Minister  Imran Khan condemning the macabre incident, and calling it a “ day of shame for Pakistan” after the news of the lynching of the Sri Lankan Priyantha Kumara went viral on social media. But that is not sufficient response to the tragedy and what it forebodes for the region.

Pakistan has to find convincing answers to put meat into the words that Prime Minister Khan have tweeted. It is a problem that can bring more dangers to Pakistan and its civil society, already living in fear of the fringe elements. For Pakistan, this incident, and several others in the past, mean the prosperity and spread of the elements who take advantage of the weak governments and law and order situation. They are virtually ruling the country, for they operate and commit such atrocities with unabashed sense of impunity, and government finds itself reduced to a state of helpless spectator.

Islamabad perhaps is oblivious of the fact that, like Pakistan , it would be viewed with greater suspicion about its capability to watch and safeguard lives and properties of the foreigners living and working there. It has no excuse to offer, as to why the Sri Lankan national was lynched by mob, which by all reports comprised radical elements who wanted to display their sense of outrage over the pulling down of a poster of TLP- Tehreek-e-Labbaik, Pakistan. The TLP had brought Pakistani government to knees by mobilizing its storm-troopers to the streets last month when it had sought release of its chief  Saad Rizvi. This is what happens when ultra-radical forces are given a long rope.

Taking a cue from Sialkot incident, particularly in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, these fundamentalist forces would go in for more such horrendous acts. As the government will not be able to do anything, as it is obvious the way authorities have failed to pin down the culprits in Sialkot atrocity, it is going to be a big problem for South Asia, where radicalism is on rise.  Sialkot incident of December 3rd has emboldened such elements in countries in the region . There are radical elements, in different shapes, in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, who thrive on fundamentalism and annihilation of  all those who resist the ideology of hate and radicalism . This can become a foreign policy issue for Pakistan, but for other countries in the immediate neighbhourhood , such acts spell greater dangers within their borders as well.

The rise of Taliban has encouraged such elements in Pakistan and elsewhere . This is a moment when all the countries should speak in one voice against such atrocities and make Islamabad to act against radicalism, otherwise the radicalism would consume more societies.  Pakistan was near Afghanistan because of its love for radical ideologies, now it is on way to become another Afghanistan. Double trouble for the region.

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with it.

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