Malik Adnan will get 'Medal of Bravery' for endangering his own life in bid to save Priyantha Diyawadana from a vigilante mob, PM Imran Khan announces.
Pakistan has announced a top civilian award for a man who risked his life while trying to save Priyantha Diyawadana, a Sri Lankan factory manager, from being lynched by an angry mob over blasphemy allegations.
Malik Adnan, a colleague of the slain Sri Lankan citizen, will be awarded Tamgha-i-Shujaat, or the 'Medal of Bravery' for "endangering his own life by physically trying to shield the victim," Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Twitter on Sunday.
Diyawadana was beaten to death and his body burned by a mob in Sialkot, a city in Pakistan's northeastern Punjab province, on Friday.
Videos circulating on social media showed Adnan physically shielding the Sri Lankan in an attempt to save him from the vigilante mob.
He, however, had to give in as the mob comprising hundreds of charged protesters overpowered him.
"On behalf of the nation I want to salute moral courage & bravery of Malik Adnan who tried his utmost to shelter & save Priyantha Diyawadana from the vigilante mob in Sialkot incl endangering his own life by physically trying to shield victim. We will award him Tamgha i Shujaat," Khan wrote on Twitter.
On behalf of the nation I want to salute moral courage & bravery of Malik Adnan who tried his utmost to shelter & save Priyantha Diyawadana from the vigilante mob in Sialkot incl endangering his own life by physically trying to shield victim. We will award him Tamgha i Shujaat— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 5, 2021
Hundreds of mob members charged
Meanwhile, the Punjab police identified and arrested six more of the main alleged culprits involved in lynching of the 49-year-old, bringing the total number of arrests to 124.
Over 900 protesters have been booked under terrorism charges, with officials promising punishment for all those responsible.
A highly sensitive issue in the Muslim-majority country, blasphemy charges carry a death penalty in Pakistan, but many people have been killed by mobs without their cases making it to court.
Rights groups believe Pakistan's blasphemy law is often used to settle personal scores against religious minorities.
PM Khan condemned Friday's killing and said he was personally overseeing the investigations and that those guilty would be punished.
"The horrific vigilante attack on a factory in Sialkot and the burning alive of Sri Lankan manager is a day of shame for Pakistan," he said in a message on Twitter.