Islamabad: Pervez Khattak, the Defense Minister of Pakistan has made a controversial remark vis-a-vis the recent Sialkot incident where a Sri Lankan national was brutally lynched to death in broad daylight.
When asked about the recent lifting of the ban on Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and whether this decision could be connected to the incident, he allegedly said that 'murders can happen when people get emotional.'
The radical Islamist supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) lynched Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan national and a factory export manager who had been living in Pakistan for more than 10 years on charges of committing blasphemy.
The insensitive remark made by Pervez Khattak has drawn widespread criticism with Sri Lanka's public security minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekara demanding an apology from him.
"Pakistan's minister of defense must apologize to the people of Sri Lanka for those remarks," said the Sri Lankan Minister.
Pakistani News Agency 'Dawn' also joined in the criticism and slammed the Minister's remark in its editorial. According to the news agency, the remarks create an impression that such killings are somehow a 'normal' part of growing up in a country where religion can be used to justify the crime.
"Mr. Khattak's remarks are deeply problematic. Such a statement from a federal minister should come as a shock, but unfortunately, we are accustomed to our public officials being in denial about the realities of extremism and violence in the country," the editorial said.
Earlier this week, Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated that he hopes Pakistan PM Imran Khan would avenge the death of Kumara and ensure that justice is served.
As a result of massive protests from the TLP, the Imran Khan Government succumbed to pressures from the hardline organization and ultimately released 1,000 prisoners who were accused of terrorism.
Earlier, the TLP created a ruckus across several cities in Pakistan after a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad was released in France. As a result, the TLP demanded the expulsion of the French Envoy immediately.