Pakistani Lynching Mobs


Aliya Anjum

The KKK emerged to suppress and victimise newly-freed slaves on religious grounds

Penning this op-ed has taken a toll on me, as I am deeply distressed by the lynching of Priyantha Diyawadana, the Srilankan General Manager of Rajco Industries, Sialkot. For the past few weeks, I have used the space of this newspaper’s opinion column to express my views about the deep-rooted hypocrisy in Pakistan. This tragedy is another reminder of how despicable the hypocrites are.
Lynchings always remind me of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). The United States of America was founded as the land of opportunity for the impoverished of Europe. Ethnic cleansing reduced the indigenous native American population to a minority. Slaves were brought from Africa and horribly abused. This led to the 1861-65 Civil War between the Northern states and the Southern States, where the victory by the north, led to the legal abolishment of slavery. The KKK emerged to suppress and victimise newly-freed slaves on religious grounds.
Racism was Europeans’ deadly vice-owing to certain false religious beliefs arising from the Jewish book of fiqh i.e the Talmud about the two sons of Prophet Nuh (AS) Shem (origin of the word Semitic) and Ham, who were favoured and cursed with white and black skin colour, respectively.
Beginning in 1877, lynchings of black Americans by white Americans continued till the 1950s.
On 26 April, 2018, Guardian carried an excellent article on this phenomenon. I quote: “A typical lynching would involve criminal accusations, often dubious, against a black American, an arrest, and the assembly of a “lynch mob” intent on subverting the normal constitutional judicial process. Victims would be seized and subjected to every imaginable manner of physical torment, with the torture usually ending with being hung from a tree and set on fire. Whole families came together, mothers and fathers, bringing even their youngest children. It was a very popular show. The vast majority of lynching participants were never punished, both because of the tacit approval of law enforcement, and because dozens if not hundreds often had a hand in the killing.”
The motive for the lynching was also explained by the same article, quoting an 1892 article published in Memphis Evening Scimitar: “The chief cause of trouble between the races in the South is the Negro’s lack of manners. Since the emancipation came and the tie of mutual interest and regard between master and servant was broken, the Negro has drifted away into a state which is neither freedom nor bondage. In consequence ….there are many negroes who use every opportunity to make themselves offensive, particularly when they think it can be done with impunity ….The white people won’t stand this sort of thing, and … the response will be prompt and effectual.”
This sounds eerily similar to the Sialkot lynching of Priyantha Diyawadana, who was a dark-skinned non-Muslim man from a neighbouring Hindu majority progressive and educated country. He made enemies by demanding high standards of work performance.
Priyantha Diyawadana was lynched by the employees upon whom he imposed strict discipline. In their view, he had grown too big for his breeches as Priyantha Diyawadana was South Asian.
I seriously doubt if a white westerner would have met the same fate. Our colonial complexes have us mentally enslaved 74 years after independence.
Srilanka is a country with a 92 per cent literacy rate, where the standard of education is high. Sri Lanka’s constitution acknowledges that English (spoken by a quarter of the population) is the country’s unifying language, while Sinhala and Tamil are both official and national tongues. Srilanka has seen a civil war between 1983 to 2009 between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils. Despite the bloody civil war, the Srilankan apparel industry conformed to state-of-the-art American business practices and standards. The prestigious Harvard Business Review carried case studies on them in the late 2000s.
This is quite likely why a Srilankan was hired to manage the production operations of the Sialkot-based factory, which supplies sports uniforms to teams, such as Pakistan during the recent T20 Cricket match and the German football team etc.
Rajco Industries have not issued any statement and neither have they stepped up and taken responsibility for Priyantha Diyawadana’s widow and their two young sons, which is a moral obligation they must uphold.
The Pakistan government needs to step up and take stringent measures to stop lynchings. Mashal Khan was a university student in Mardan, KPK. He briefly studied in Russia and being young and optimistic, he was fascinated by the ideas of Communism and Socialism. His intellectual curiosity threatened his classmates, who lynched him hiding behind blasphemy accusations.
The Prime Minister tweeted condemning the actions of the mob terming it a “vigilante attack,” instead of terming it mob violence. This phrasing puts a positive spin on the practice of taking the law into one’s own hands to commit lethal violence. Such improper phrasing is thus unbecoming of the head of state.
The nation awaits swift justice for Priyantha Diyawadana so that this trend of lynching by mobs is squashed forever.