Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, while talking to the media in Peshawar, said that the horrific lynching of a Sri Lankan man at the hands of a mob in Sialkot should not be linked to the government, adding even “murders take place” when young people get emotional.

A reporter questioned Khattak that the Sialkot killing had taken place after the government lifted the ban on the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), and asked Khattak whether the government was considering an “effective crackdown” against such groups.

“You know the reasons [behind this incident] too. When children … grow up, they become spirited and do things out of emotions. This does not mean ‘this was the result of that action’,” responded Khattak, adding that in Sialkot some young men had gathered and accused Priyantha Kumara [Sri Lankan factory manager] of disrespecting Islam.


Khattak said he too could do something wrong in a state of heightened emotions and added that such incidents did not mean “Pakistan is going towards destruction”.

A reporter asked the minister whether he was attributing the murders of nine policemen by TLP protesters as well as that of Kumara to “emotions”.

Reiterating his argument, Khattak said boys entering adulthood are “ready to do anything” and learn with age how to control their emotions. “So this happens among kids, fights take place and even murders. [Does] this mean it is the government’s fault?”

“Why don’t you change this mindset? Your anchors should come on TV and make the children understand their religion. You only take advertisements and earn money,” added Khattak.

Twitterati reacted to Khattak’s comments.

Journalist Nasim Zehra tweeted, “Either he should apologise & withdraw this statement or he should resign from his post … it’s minds like his that mislead, that poison the young and the his disservice to both Islam and to Pak.”

Journalist Saadia Afzal tweeted, “We are where we are because of such sorry state of affairs. This is our defence minister shamelessly justifying the incident. He should be sacked immediately.”

Another person tweeted, “Oversimplify, justify and dehumanise!”